Researchers May Have Found A Way To Block Our Aversion To Pain

From IFLScience: For More Info, Go Here…

ngd-If something like this could be brought to market, it would dramatically change recovery from chronic pain…

Anyone who has ever had a belly ache, a black eye, or a hangover will tell you that you don’t feel particularly motivated to do anything when you’re hurting, and can feel downright miserable. This moody element of pain is caused by the release of a neurotransmitter called dynorphin in a brain region called the nucleus accumbens, which dampens goal-driven behaviors. As a result, people who are in pain become less able to experience pleasure from activities that they normally enjoy.

Researchers at Washington University wanted to see if blocking the effects of dynorphin could eliminate the depressive effects of pain in rats. To do so, they taught the rodents to press a lever in order to receive a sugary reward, before injecting some of them with a substance that caused inflammation in the paw. As expected, these rats became demotivated, and chose to sulk rather than continue to press the lever.

When the team administered a compound that blocked the release of dynorphin, however, the rats’ appetite for sugary indulgence returned, and they became motivated once again to press the lever despite still being in pain.

The study authors conclude that the interaction between dynorphin and kappa opioid receptors is the main driver of the emotional response to pain in rats. Clearly much more research is needed in order to confirm if this holds true for humans, but if this does turn out to be the case then we could soon see new lines of painkillers that are designed to provide a big dose of equanimity in the face of anguish.

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