Discovery may lead to new therapeutic approaches for pain reduction
A new study provides the best evidence to date that a psychological intervention program designed for breast cancer patients not only improves their health - it actually increases their chance of survival. Researchers at Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center found that patients participating in an intervention program reduced their risk of dying of breast
Full Post: Intervention program boosts survival in breast cancer patients
By manipulating the appearance of a chronically achy hand, researchers have found they could increase or decrease the pain and swelling in patients moving their symptomatic limbs.
The findings - reported in the November 25th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication - reveal a profound top-down effect of body image on body tissues, according to the researchers.
“The brain is capable of many wonderful things based on its perception of how the body is doing and the risks to which the body seems to be exposed,” said G. Lorimer Moseley, who is now at the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute in Australia. (The work was done at the University of Oxford.)
In the study, the researchers asked ten right-handed patients with chronic pain and dysfunction in one arm to watch their own arm while they performed a standardized set of ten hand movements. The participants repeated the movements under four conditions: with no visual manipulation, while looking through binoculars with no magnification, while looking through binoculars that doubled the apparent size of their arm, and while looking through inverted binoculars that reduced the apparent size of their arm.
While the patients’ pain was always worse after movement than it was before, the extent to which the pain worsened depended on what people saw. Specifically, the pain increased more when participants viewed a magnified image of their arm during the movements, and - perhaps more surprisingly - the pain became less when their arm was seen through inverted binoculars that minimized its size.
The degree of swelling too was less when people watched a “minified” image of their arm during movements than when they watched a magnified or normal image, the researchers reported.
They aren’t yet sure how this phenomenon works at the level of neurons. However, the researchers said, a possible philosophical explanation comes from the notion that protective responses - including the experience of pain - are activated according to the brain’s implicit perception of danger level. “If it looks bigger, it looks sorer and more swollen,” Moseley said. “Therefore, the brain acts to protect it.”
While he said the findings don’t mean that pain is any less real, they may lead to a new therapeutic approach for reducing pain. His team is now testing visual manipulations as an analgesic strategy for use in clinical settings.
There has been a rise in the number of Carpal Tunnel syndrome cases. This syndrome is tingling, weakness, numbness and other issues which can happen to your hand. It mostly happens due to the load on the median nerve in the wrist. There is a small space on our wrist called carpal tunnel. Through this
Full Post: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Tech
Cognitive neuroscientists at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet (KI) have succeeded in making subjects perceive the bodies of mannequins and other people as their own. The findings are published in the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE, December 3. In the first experiment, the head of a shop dummy was fitted with two cameras connected
Full Post: Scientists produce illusion of body-swapping
Scientists peered at the brains of people with a baffling chronic pain condition and discovered something surprising. Their brains looked like an inept cable guy had changed the hookups, rewiring the areas related to emotion, pain perception and the temperature of their skin. The new finding by scientists at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine,
Full Post: Baffling chronic pain linked to rewiring of brain
When you first notice a door handle, your brain has already been hard at work. Your visual system first sees the handle, then it sends information to various parts of the brain, which go on to decipher out the details, such as color and the direction the handle is pointing. As the information about an
Full Post: Study looks at brain and movement planning
New research out of the University of Pittsburgh indicates that patients’ perceptions of their own health and balance have an impact on how much they walk. The study was originally published in Physical Therapy (December 2008), the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). “The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to investigate
Full Post: Perception of health and balance has direct impact on walking activity