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Heat turns-off pain?

July 05, 2006 at 6:16 PM Research News   - G J E 4
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Heat turns-off pain?
Pain and Heat cannot coexist, because heat is capable of relieving pain, say researchers from the University College London. With the use of DNA technology, scientists were able to understand the behavior of pain receptors within cells.

When the heat is on, it has a pain relieving effect. Scientists rated the benefits of heat for pain relief on par with a pain killer, because pain receptors are turned off at the molecular level, when exposed to heat.

According to their observation, a temperature above 104F is capable of triggering the internal heat receptors, which render the chemical messengers numb to pain. Chemical messengers are in charge of detecting the pain in the body. It is not a mere superficial comfort or placebo effect, scientists say.

Dr Brian King, of UCL Department of Physiology, who guided the research, said "The pain of colic, cystitis and period pain is caused by a temporary reduction in blood flow to or over-distension of hollow organs such as the bowel or uterus, causing local tissue damage and activating pain receptors. The heat doesn't just provide comfort and have a placebo effect. It actually deactivates the pain at a molecular level in much the same way as pharmaceutical painkillers work. We have discovered how this molecular process works."

In his opinion, these findings will assist in the birth of better pain relief medications in the years to come.

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