Photokina 2014 highlights

Pain Relief

The ATI Neurostimulator (on skull, at left) and its handheld remote control (Photo: The Oh...

While they may not be quite as well-known as migraines, cluster headaches are even more painful, and can occur several times a day. There's presently no cure, although a new "neurostimulator" is claimed to help control them. A US clinical trial of the device has just begun, with a test subject recently having had one implanted beneath his cheekbone.  Read More

The Cefaly headband is claimed to not only treat migraines, but help to reduce their frequ...

Though using electrical stimulation of the brain as a means of treating migraines has provided an alternative to over-the-counter medication, the administering of the electrical currents can be complex, involving bulky equipment or even surgically implanted electrodes. Cefaly, a battery-operated headband, has now been approved by FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) and is said to not only treat migraines, but possibly prevent them altogether.  Read More

Researchers from Sweden's Chalmers University of Technology have deleoped an augmented rea...

Studies have shown that a large percentage of amputees feel pain in their missing limbs. This condition, known as phantom limb pain (PLP), is caused by the part of brain responsible for a limb's movement becoming idle once that limb is lost. The ailment has so far proven difficult to treat, but a new study suggests therapy involving augmented reality and gaming could stimulate these unused areas of the brain, resulting in a significant reduction in discomfort.  Read More

Lead scientist Xinqiao Jia works with the gel

People suffering from joint problems such as osteoarthritis tend to take a lot of anti-inflammatory drugs, even though such medications affect their whole body, all of the time. Scientists at the University of Delaware, however, are developing what could be a more effective alternative. It's a hydrogel that can be injected into the joint, and it releases medication only in response to mechanical force – in other words, whenever the joint is used.  Read More

Thimble's mock-up of a potential TENS patch

Imagine if you could treat pain the same way you treat a cut: throw a bandage on it and let it heal. Thimble Bioelectronics is working on a patch based on Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) that's designed to provide this type of portable pain relief.  Read More

Researchers have disabled the cold sensation in lab mice  (Photo: Shutterstock)

How many times have you been shivering on a winter day, and wished that you were capable of simply not feeling the cold? Well, that’s just what scientists at the University of Southern California have done to a group of lab mice – they disabled the animals’ ability to sense cold, while leaving their ability to sense heat and touch intact. It is hoped that the research could lead to more effective pain medications for humans.  Read More

Electric stimulation of the brain through the skull has been found to release a powerful, ...

Twenty to thirty percent of the world's population suffers from some sort of chronic pain, which is far more difficult to control than, say, the pain of a cut or bruise. A great deal of effort has gone into the search for medically acceptable ways to control such pain, with few good answers emerging. Now medical researchers at the University of Michigan have directly demonstrated that transcranial electrical stimulation of a patient's brain causes the release of a natural opiate that dulls or eliminates the perception of pain.  Read More

Researchers have found a way to block addiction to various opioid drugs, including heroin ...

Unlike the heroin-specific vaccine we covered last year, an international team of scientists from the University of Adelaide in Australia and the University of Colorado Boulder has now found a way to block addiction to various opioid drugs, including heroin and morphine. Importantly, the new approach doesn’t negatively affect the pain-relieving properties of these drugs.  Read More

Spinovo wearable back pain relief concept

Industrial Design student Justine Smith has looked to new technology for a solution to one of the most common ailments in the world today – chronic back pain. The result is Spinovo – a concept smart clothing product that uses modular packs to treat pain through heating, cooling, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapies as well as incorporating bend sensors to ensure the wearer maintains the correct posture.  Read More

Close neurological ties between reward-processing and pain-processing regions in the brain...

As science continues to unravel the mysteries of ourselves and the world around us at a furious pace, it can sometimes feel like the boffins are proving things that many of us feel we already know or take for granted. This interesting example comes from the Stanford University School of Medicine, where scientists have found that intense feelings of love are as effective at relieving pain as painkillers or even illicit drugs.  Read More

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