In a new groundbreaking study, researchers at Duke University thought outside the box and conducted a study on the relationship between the amygdala and the experience of pain.
The amygdala is a part of the brain that plays a big role in how we process emotions. It is greatly associated with our “fight or flight” response.
Since there are particular parts of the brain that actively turn ON when someone is experiencing pain and the amygdala is not one of them, little research has previously been done on how the amygdala can affect pain.
Because the experience of pain involves many parts of the brain, trying to turn them all off has been a daunting task in trying to find treatment. It’s like a game of whack-a-mole.
This study shows another possibility of how to treat pain.
Using mice as their subjects, the researchers found they could actually turn OFF pain by activating particular neurons in the amygdala. The study itself reflects the ability to “profoundly shut down pain”.
The next step for researchers is to find a medication that targets these particular neurons so humans have a way to utilize the results of this finding.
New developments in science and research are happening everyday. It’s encouraging to know new possibilities for treatment evolve with the work of innovative researchers.