ST. LOUIS

Wellness Update - - Content -

-- Build­ing on wire­less tech­nol­ogy that has the po­ten­tial to in­ter­fere with pain, sci­en­tists have de­vel­oped flex­i­ble, im­plantable de­vices that can ac­ti­vate — and, in the­ory, block — pain sig­nals in the body and spinal cord be­fore those sig­nals reach the brain. The re­searchers, at Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Univer­sity of Illi­nois at Ur­bana-Champaign, said the im­plants one day may be used in dif­fer­ent parts of the body to fight pain that doesn’t re­spond to other ther­a­pies. “Our even­tual goal is to use this tech­nol­ogy to treat pain in very spe­cific lo­ca­tions by pro­vid­ing a kind of ‘switch’ to turn off the pain sig­nals long be­fore they reach the brain,” said co-se­nior in­ves­ti­ga­tor Robert W. Gereau IV, PhD, the Dr. Sey­mour and Rose T. Brown Pro­fes­sor of Anes­the­si­ol­ogy and di­rec­tor of the Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity Pain Cen­ter. The study is pub­lished on­line Nov. 9 in the jour­nal Na­ture Biotech­nol­ogy.

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