About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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Brain Waves

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December 18, 2006

Abolishing Chronic Pain

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Posted by Zack Lynch

For those who suffer from chronic pain there is hope. A story from last week's NYTimes:

"Geneticists following up the case of a 10-year old Pakistani boy who could walk on coals without discomfort have discovered a gene that is central to the perception of pain. A mutation in the gene knocks out all perception of injury, raising hopes of developing novel drugs that would abolish pain by blocking the gene’s function. The boy lived in Lahore, Pakistan, and was well known to the city’s medical authorities because he would come to the clinic asking to be patched up after his street theater. In these exhibitions, he would pass knives through his arms and walk on burning coals without feeling pain...

Chronic_Pain.jpgAfter six years of work, Dr. Woods found that the affected members of all three families had a defect in a gene known as sodium channel N9A, or SCN9A...The SCN9A gene is active both in nerves that mediate pain and in those of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls vital bodily functions like heart rate. But for reasons that are not yet understood, the affected members of the Pakistani families had no symptoms of a disordered sympathetic nervous system, such as irregular heart rate, and seemed entirely normal apart from the occasional self-inflicted damage caused by their inability to feel pain. Several had inadvertently bitten off the tips of their tongue in infancy."

Nearly 300 million people worldwide suffer from chronic pain and this research should go a long way in helping uncover new ways to alleviate their daily torment. (Note: image of brain pain center is not related to this article but is related to permanently relieving pain.)

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Sensoceutical Market


1. Kensai on January 8, 2007 2:26 PM writes...

Pain is the real scourge of our century, imo, perhaps even more than cancer... It's good to know research is investigating various ways to defeat it.


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2. Trevor Mumby on January 17, 2007 5:14 PM writes...

We know that when the delta frequency is being transmitted from the brain through the body,the body is in deep natural sleep and does not experience pain. Claims are being made which indicate delta frequency could be 'entrained' through audio messaging.
I have been using a wave frequency of 1.5Hz using a light transducer and had consistent positive long term pain relief.
My hypothesis is that the brain decides to continue sending the frequency to the pain location.
There is sound 'evidence' that photons 'choose'?
Love to hear from interested people.

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3. Martijn Arns on June 4, 2007 2:50 PM writes...

Trevor, I don't think your brain really entrained to 1,5 Hz, then you would indeed be fast asleep. This type os slow activity - e.g. delta - is almost never observed in waking individuals. Maybe the entrainment induced a profound relaxation causing the pain to diminish, i.e. an indirect effect.


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