Mechanism Points to Acupuncture Pain Relief


Scientists tried the technique on mice that had a pain in the paw, inserting and rotating the needles in the mouse version of one of the most effective acupoints in Chinese medicine. And they found that the tissues around the treated acupoint get flooded with adenosine, a chemical that provides relief by preventing pain signals from reaching the brain.

This biochemical blockade reduced the animals’ discomfort, as did treating them with drugs that boost the amount of adenosine in the tissue. The scientists say the pain relief stems from the body’s natural response to minor tissue injury.

Scientific American: Mechanism Points to Acupuncture Pain Relief

(via Social Physicist)

Photo by SuperFantastic / CC

Can sleeping poorly cause physical pain?


These data suggest that sleep continuity disturbance, but not simple sleep restriction, impairs endogenous pain-inhibitory function and increases spontaneous pain, supporting a possible pathophysiologic role of sleep disturbance in chronic pain.

Barking Up The Wrong Tree: Can sleeping poorly cause physical pain?

(Photo by / CC)

The Curious Case of a Woman Addicted to Her Brain Implant

brain implant addict

i09 tells the story of a woman, with a history of addictive behavior, who was given an electrode implant in her thalamus to help her manage chronic pain. She ended up addicted to the erotic sensations that using the implant, self-stimulating herself all day and “neglecting personal hygiene and family commitments.”

As thalamic stimulators and other brain implants become more commonplace, it’s likely that our anonymous implant addict will no longer be an outlier. She’s just the first documented case of a new kind of addiction.

io9: The Curious Case of a Woman Addicted to Her Brain Implant

Medical Marijuana Advocate Kills Herself

“Robin Prosser, a Missoula woman who struggled for a quarter century to live with the pain of an immunosuppressive disorder, tried years ago to kill herself. Last week, she tried again. This time, she succeeded.

After her earlier attempt failed, Prosser wound up in even more trouble after investigating police found marijuana in her home. She used the marijuana to help cope with pain.

That marijuana charge was eventually dropped in an agreement with the city of Missoula, and Prosser had reason to rejoice in 2004 when Montanans passed a law allowing medical use of the drug.

She was a high-profile campaigner for the Montana Medical Marijuana Act, and like others, she was dismayed when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that drug agents could still arrest sick people using marijuana, even in states that legalized its use.

The ruling came to haunt Prosser in late March, when DEA agents seized less than a half ounce of marijuana sent to her by her registered caregiver in Flathead County.”


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