Skip to main content

Optogenetics: Update

In August 2014, I wrote a post for this blog about an exciting new approach to pain management known as "optogenetics."  You can read the post in its entirety here...but here is a brief refresher:

Optogentics is an evolving new field that sheds promise on the treatment of many conditions including chronic pain management.  In a nutshell, optogenetics is a technology that employs beams of light to control  selected areas of the brain, essentially turning them on or off.

The use of various forms of light to treat disease is not a new idea...consider the use of UV light to treat psoriasis...or light boxes for seasonal affective disorder...or lasers used in surgical procedures. It's not surprising to think that light beams can be used in other ways to treat other disorders..right?

Fast forward to November 2015. Now there are reports of studies of implantable optoelectronic systems for treatment of many health conditions via wireless.  These implants, when strategically placed, will make it possible to activate or deactivate light sensitive proteins in the nervous system.

As this field of study grows , the potential to treat many chronic pain conditions may change dramatically in years to come.  Stay tuned for updates as they become available!


Popular posts from this blog

Living with Chronic pain hits the big screen!

Been to the movies lately?  Jennifer Aniston is on the big screen in a recent release titled "Cake."
Her character, Claire is a victim of chronic pain...she belongs to a support group, where all of the members are coming to terms with the suicide of one of their members.  Of course, she also takes pain medication and addiction is another of her problems...and of course there's more!

I guess I am writing this post just to bring readers' attention to the fact that Hollywood has become aware of the crisis that is chronic pain.  This movie is a testament to that. People that don't have to live with this kind of pain don't fully understand the whole story.  Maybe this movie will shed some light on the issues.

Here is the official trailer for the movie:

Sources: prweb;;YouTube

Herpes As A Helper?

If you've ever had shingles, or known anyone that has experienced it, you probably know that chronic pain can persist following the initial attack (post herpetic neuralgia).  This is because the herpes virus seems to have an affinity for nerve cells.  And while it's not fun to have shingles or post herpetic neuralgia, the herpes virus may be a key in future development of delivery systems for pain management treatments.

Here's the deal--since Herpes simplex has an affinity for nerve cells, researchers are looking a genetically modified, safer version of the virus to deliver genetic material to damaged nerves.  In simple terms, once the genetic material reaches these nerve cells, it will hopefully encode these nerves to ultimately inhibit pain signals.  Animal studies and clinical trials in cancer patients have been encouraging thus far.

This is one of those developments that makes me believe that there is hope for those in chronic pain. Along with so many other exciting d…

The Knee Bone's Connected To The Leg Bone....

Two recent studies have brought a not-so-novel concept into the limelight-the concept being that people who present with knee pain often develop pain in other parts of their bodies.  These studies, known as the Multicenter Osteoarthritis Study (MOST) and the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI), were assessed by a Clinical Epidemiology Team as Boston University School of Medicine in an effort to find preventive strategies to combat this trend.

The authors suggest that knee pain may cause individuals to alter their gait in an effort to compensate for their discomfort. In doing so, the alignment of other body joints is altered, and this may be the cause of secondary joint pain, especially hips and ankles. The authors go on to say that the pain in these secondary sites is not necessarily osteoarthritis--perhaps bursitis or some other injury.

Osteoarthritis is a result of wear and tear in the joints.  We may not be able to completely eliminate osteoarthritis from occurring, but some common se…