Pain Signaling in Humans: A Superfast Highway to the Brain Discovered
The Pain Relief Foundation is excited to share in this wonderful news and is very thankful to have the opportunity to be able support such incredible research. We wish to congratulate all those involved in the study on their amazing findings.
Pain signals can travel as fast as touch signals, according to a new study from researchers at Liverpool John Moores University’s SomAffect Group (https://somaffect.org/), Linköping University (Sweden), and the National Institutes of Health (USA). The discovery of a rapid pain-signaling system challenges the textbook view that pain is signaled exclusively by slower conducting nerves that have only a thin layer of myelin or none. The study has been published in the scientific journal Science Advances.
Using a technique to record nerve signals from single nerve cells in awake human participants (microneurography), we now know that humans, in line with most other mammals, are equipped with ultrafast ‘pain’ neurons (nociceptors) that signal as fast as touch nerves that have a thick layer of myelin. Further, testing in patient groups with rare neurological deficits corroborated the role of this system in pain perception. The discovery will require a rethink of current models of chronic pain.
The study is an international collaboration funded by, among others, the Pain Relief Foundation , Swedish Research Council, ALF Region Östergötland, and the Intramural Research Program of the NIH (NCCIH).
“An ultra-fast system for signaling mechanical pain in human skin”, Saad S. Nagi, Andrew G. Marshall, Adarsh Makdani, Ewa Jarocka, Jaquette Liljencrantz, Mikael Ridderström, Sumaiya Shaikh, Francis O´Neill, Dimah Saade, Sandra Donkervoort, A. Reghan Foley, January Minde, Mats Trulsson, Jonathan Cole, Carsten G. Bönnemann, Alexander T. Chesler, M. Catherine Bushnell, Francis McGlone, and Håkan Olausson, Science Advances, published online 03 July 2019 https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/7/eaaw1297