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Pain Relief

A new type of medical device could one day put the minds of chronic pain sufferers at ease by distributing the body's own natural pain relief signals at just the right time. Developed at Linköping University in Sweden, the tiny "ion pump" is made from organic electronics and could be implanted in patients, serving to cut off pain signals in the spinal chord before they make their way to the brain.

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Though a range of cancers can cause pain for sufferers, studies have shown tumors in the head, neck and prostate to cause the most discomfort. New research has shed more light on the source of this pain, identifying a certain gene as the trigger and giving scientists hope of developing better targeted pain relief therapies. Read More
There are already beverage cans that contain chemically-activated chilling modules. Now, three students from Houston's Rice University are working at applying the same principle to hypodermic needles. Instead of keeping the medication in the syringe cool, however, the idea is that a special needle cap could be used to first chill and numb the patient's skin, making the subsequent injection relatively painless. Read More
Yoga practitioners know firsthand the physical and mental benefits the activity produces, as meditation is often embedded in yoga sessions. Now, yogis have got science to back their claims of well-being and focus, as new research shows more clearly how yoga-induced mindfulness has an impact on pain perception. Read More
Though it is true a big part of the wearable technology market is aimed at better connecting us through rings, headsets and everything in between, a sizable chunk is also directed at maintaining our physical well-being. Joining the likes of Thimble Electronics and migraine-preventing headband Cefaly is start-up Quell, which bills its device as the first over-the-counter wearable that offers relief from chronic pain. Read More
The more successful ways of reducing chronic pain such as that arising from bone cancer and chemotherapy rely on blocking certain brain pathways, but these aren't without their of side effects. Scientists at St Louis University have discovered that the pathway A3AR could be the key to mitigating pain without some of the unwanted baggage, potentially pointing to new methods of therapeutic treatment. Read More
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
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
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
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
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