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Researchers Devise New Means To Erase Pain

Update Date: Jul 10, 2014 07:47 AM EDT

It is possible to relieve pain hypersensitivity using a new method that involves rekindling pain so that it can subsequently be erased, according to a new study. 

The discovery suggests a novel means to alleviate chronic pain. 

Researchers were inspired by a previous work on memory conducted around 15 years ago. According to the old study, when a memory is reactivated during a recall, its neurochemical encoding is temporarily unlocked  and simultaneous administration of a drug that blocks neurochemical reconsolidation of the memory results in its erasure. 

Researchers wanted to see if a similar mechanism can be played during neurochemical encoding of pain sensitization. 

 "When the protein synthesis inhibitor is administered alone, the hypersensitivity remains. The second injection of capsaicin is necessary to render the sensitivity to pain unstable and be able to interfere with its neurochemical reconsolidation. The challenge now will be to find protein synthesis inhibitors that are nontoxic and cause minimal side effects in humans," explained  Yves De Koninck of Université Laval in the press release. 

The study has been published in the journal Nature Neuroscience (2014). 

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