Wireless Control of Pain in Mice

MouseResearchers have developed a new wireless technology that has the potential to interfere with pain signals in the spinal cord. These wireless implantable devices have the ability to activate nerves and potentially even block pain signals in the spinal cord before they reach the brain. Researchers say these implants may one day be used to treat pain that does not respond to any other therapies. Could this device be used to treat fibromyalgia pain or other chronic pain conditions? The purpose of these devices is to switch off pain from multiple body sites by interfering with neural pathways in the spinal cord before they reach the brain. Of course this isn’t exactly new technology, the difference today is that these devices are soft and flexible allowing them to be implanted into soft tissues versus being anchored to the bone like older devices. This flexibility and softness may allow researchers to implant this device on areas such as muscles, bladder, stomach, intestines and other organs. Researchers experimented with mice that were genetically engineered to have light sensitive proteins on their nerve cells; this allowed researchers to view when mice were experiencing pain and allowed them to control their pain with the device.