Scientists discover brain signals for chronic pain

Discovery of ‘objective biomarker’ raises hopes for new treatments for people living with intractable pain. Photo: Pexels

(Ian Sample/ The Guardian) –– Brain signals that reveal how much pain a person is in have been discovered by scientists who say the work is a step towards radical new treatments for people living with debilitating chronic pain.

It is the first time researchers have decoded the brain activity underlying chronic pain in patients, raising hopes that brain stimulation therapies already used for Parkinson’s and major depression can help those who have run out of other options.

“What we’ve learned is that chronic pain can successfully be tracked and predicted in the real world, while patients are walking the dog, or at home, when they get up in the morning, and when they are going about their lives,” said Prasad Shirvalkar, a neurologist and lead researcher on the project at the University of California, San Francisco. (…)