on off switch for pain

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by tansy, Jul 23, 2006.

  1. tansy

    tansy New Member

    Columbia University Researchers Discover On-off Switch For Chronic Pain

    Chronic pain affects approximately 48 million people in the U.S. and
    current medications are either largely ineffective or have serious side
    effects. But researchers from Columbia University Medical Center have
    discovered a protein in nerve cells that acts as a switch for chronic
    pain, and have applied for a patent to develop a new class of drugs that
    will block chronic pain by turning this switch off. The discovery is
    published on the website of the journal Neuroscience, and will appear in
    the publication's August issue.

    Most prior attempts at alleviating chronic pain have focused on the
    "second order" neurons in the spinal cord that relay pain messages to the
    brain. It's difficult to inhibit the activity of these neurons with drugs,
    though, because the drugs need to overcome the blood-brain barrier.
    Instead, the CUMC researchers have focused on the more accessible "first
    order" neurons in the periphery of our body that send messages to the
    spinal cord.

    Pain becomes chronic when the activity of first and second order neurons
    persists after damaged neuron heals or the tissue inflammation subsides.
    It's been known for years that for chronic pain to persist, a master
    switch must be turned on inside the peripheral neurons, though until now
    the identity of this switch remained a mystery. Richard Ambron, Ph.D.,
    professor of cell biology, and Ying-Ju Sung, Ph.D., assistant professor,
    both in the department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, have now discovered
    that the switch is an enzyme called protein kinase G (PKG).

    "We're very optimistic that this discovery and our continued research will
    ultimately lead to a novel approach to pain relief for the millions
    suffering from chronic pain," said Dr. Ambron.

    The researchers found that upon injury or inflammation, the PKG is turned
    on and activated. Once activated, these molecules set off other processes
    that generate the pain messages. As long as the PKG remains on, the pain
    persists. Conversely, turning the PKG off relieves the pain, making PKG an
    excellent target for therapy.

    Dr. Ambron and Dr. Sung have applied for a patent for the pathway that
    turns on the PKG, as well as several molecules that inhibit it.

    Based on the 2004 Americans Living with Pain Survey, 72 percent of people
    with chronic pain have lived with it for more than three years, including
    a third who have lived with pain for more than a decade. Yet nearly half
    of people with pain do not consult a physician for several months or
    longer, despite the impact the pain has on their lives.

    The worldwide painkiller market was worth $50 billion in 2005 and is
    expected to increase to $75 billion by 2010 and $105 billion by 2015. But
    none of the existing drugs on the market are adequate to deal with chronic
    pain. Cox-2 inhibitors carry severe risk of side effects, opioids are
    highly addictive, Tylenol is ineffective for chronic pain, and other pain
    drugs cause significant drowsiness.

    (c) 2006 Science Daily
  2. caroleye

    caroleye New Member

    I'm almost finished reading: The healing power of Neurofeedback, which is all about their approach to quelch the pain via this method.

    If our brain chemistry is "off", which most of us with illness have, they can rebalance the chemistry.

    Fascinating book for you that are neurological scholars/researchers.

    They're treating everything from Fibromalgia, Alzheimers, Parkinson's, etc. Book just came out a few months ago, and this is cutting edge information that traditional Dr.'s have no clue about.

  3. findmind

    findmind New Member

    OMG, this is such good news, both the PKG info, and the book name.

    I am going to ask my dr. if I can get neurobiofeedback. I am pretty good at getting "above" the pain, usually, but this costochondritis I have now has dumped that in the trashcan.

    It's 45 miles roundtrip to drs, but I have to do something to help myself. Will get the book and learn so I can understand the process and help myself more.

    Thanks, Tansy, for the info, and the hope! That's my byline...

    There's always hope!