Seeing is relieving: New hope for chronic pain sufferers

Oct 29, 2009

An f1000 evaluation examines how pain relief improves greatly when the sufferer can actually see the area where the pain is occurring.

In an Anglo-Italian study, thirty healthy subjects were invited to look at either their own hand, the experimenter's hand, or an object, while their hand was subjected to laser-induced .

The results, published in The , showed that, when the sufferer could see their own hand, they felt less pain than if they were looking at the experimenter's hand or a neutral object. Longo and colleagues found there were subjective (self-report) and objective (brain potential) measures of the person's pain sensation.

Researchers also found the result was the same whether the subjects were looking at their actual hand or a mirror image; the latter using a technique previously used to reduce phantom limb pain in amputees.

Importantly, this is the first time such an experiment has been done on subjects who did not suffer from pre-existing body image issues.

Faculty of 1000 reviewer Alumit Ishai, of the University of Zurich, was very impressed. "These novel findings suggest that viewing the body modulates the subjective perception of pain," she said. "Although the mechanism that mediates this analgesic effect is unclear … the potential therapeutic implications for patients with are huge."

More information:

• The full text of the evaluation of is available free for 90 days at: www.f1000biology.com/article/v… 2c9qkc58j/id/1165244
• An abstract of the original paper by Longo et al. (Visually Induced Analgesia: Seeing The Body Reduces Pain) is at: www.jneurosci.org/cgi/content/abstract/29/39/12125

Source: Faculty of 1000: Biology and Medicine

Explore further: Hey1 and Hey2 ensure inner ear 'hair cells' are made at the right time, in the right place

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Smokers suffer more back pain

Jul 01, 2008

Smokers suffer more chronic back pain. This was the result of the analysis of a questionnaire performed by Monique Zimmermann-Stenzel and her colleagues and published in the current edition of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch ...

Pain is in the eyes of the beholder

Nov 25, 2008

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 ...

Phantom limbs learn impossible tricks

Oct 28, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- New research has shown that body images can be formed independently of external sensory inputs, and that the phantom limbs of amputees can be trained to carry out tasks that would be impossible ...

Baffling Chronic Pain Linked to Rewiring of Brain

Nov 26, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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 ...

Rich people don't need friends

Sep 16, 2009

In a paper evaluated by f1000 Medicine, six studies tested relationships between reminders of money, social exclusion and physical pain.

Chronic Pain Harms the Brain

Feb 06, 2008

People with unrelenting pain don't only suffer from the non-stop sensation of throbbing pain. They also have trouble sleeping, are often depressed, anxious and even have difficulty making simple decisions.

Recommended for you

Optogenetics has 'completely changed neuroscience'

6 hours ago

It's getting harder to find the line between science and science fiction. One of the hot research techniques these days, "optogenetics," uses gene therapy to deliver light-sensitive proteins to specific cells. Then researchers ...

User comments : 0