| chronic pain

A Brain Implant to Treat Pain/Disorders

A Blueprint to Modulate Sensory-Affective Experiences

The journal of Nature Biomedical Engineering features an article highlighting a blueprint to study pain and potential treatments. Because pain is unpredictable and random, it can be hard to study. Scientists have developed a prototype closed-loop brain–machine interface that “can modulate sensory-affective experiences in real time in freely behaving rats by coupling neural codes for nociception directly with therapeutic cortical stimulation.” In addition to treating pain, the brain implants may help other brain-based disorders such as depression, anxiety, and pain attacks.

Senior author Jing Wang, MD, PhD, commented, “Our findings show that this implant offers an effective strategy for pain therapy, even in cases where symptoms are traditionally difficult to pinpoint or manage." Through the brain-machine interface, the computer stimulates the prefrontal cortex in order to ease pain when signs are detected. Risk of overuse, tolerance, or addiction are lessened, as the device only works when pain is present.

 

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