It is a fact that nobody, absolutely NO ONE, likes to feel some kind of pain in their body. Pain is a sensory and emotional experience inherent in all those who have a central nervous system, but what mechanism triggers the perception of pain?
A new flexible implant could provide relevant data on the origin of the sensation of pain in many patients, even to alleviate the ailments that attribute them, thanks to the implementation of LED light pulses.
The so-called microLED is soft and flexible, using optogenetic technology, invented almost over a decade ago. This technology has been implemented in mice to demonstrate the possibility of manipulating several neural circuits that are known to participate in the mechanisms of pain perception.
It is an experimental technique for the symptomatic treatment of pain, which also requires the modification of the DNA of the responsible neurons to get them activated or deactivated at will, through a technique of pulsed LED light.
For many patients the worst part of feeling chronic pain, is the possibility of presenting side effects from surgical interventions or medicines. According to professors John Rogers and Robert Gereau, this implant can be used for long periods of time and does not limit the patient’s motor function, nor can it cause significant damage to neuronal tissues, which could lead to one of these side effects.
This technique is giving good results to understand more deeply how the different interconnected neuronal groups work, and thus be able to carry out certain functions in the human body.
The brain LED implant has the possibility to be activated wirelessly, which is a great advance compared to current techniques, which limit its use to localized areas of the nervous system next to resistant parts of the human skeleton such as bones or the skull.
In addition to this, the composition of the implant is made of extra-fine and flexible materials, which provides mechanical properties similar to that of biological tissues, which allows it to be implanted in any part of the body.
The data reported after a study conducted in the epidural region of the bone marrow, mice have allowed to detect the group of neurons responsible for the behaviors associated with chronic pain, and in turn, the possibility of transforming them into photosensitive for activation and deactivation by pulses of the LED light.
With the results thrown by the implant, it is expected that researchers can understand more precisely the mechanism that causes the neurons of the peripheral nervous system to activate the perception of pain, this in order to establish new therapies with this optogenetic technique that reduce discomfort in patients.