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Human Brain Can Control Pain

by Medindia Content Team on  December 14, 2005 at 10:29 AM Research News   - G J E 4
Human Brain Can Control Pain
The human brain can be manipulated to get relief from chronic discomfort, according to recent research studies by the Stanford University in California.
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As many as eight patients were taught to reduce pain through showing them scans of their brains while performing mental exercises. Standard therapy has not been very successful while treating chronic pain, and new possibilities can be opened through the results of the research. People can be trained to change the method by which the painful stimuli are processed by the brain's pain centers, which will serve to reduce the intensity of the pain.

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The painful stimuli are handled by the rostral anterior cingulate cortex of the brain, and a functional magnetic resonance imaging is used to capture live images of that part of the brain. Mental exercises were undertaken by the patients as they watched the scans, to reduce their pain. The object was to ensure that pain is processed in a way which will serve to reduce its intensity. Some of the patients who were tested reported that their pain levels had reduced by more than 50%. The functional MRI was used in the study, which may also be used to measure early damage due to Alzheimer's and stroke, in addition to being used as a high-tech painkiller.

Further research needs to be conducted on the new treatment.
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