Scientists discover that heightened levels of communication between different parts of the brain increase your chances of developing chronic pain after an injury.
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Whether you are a construction worker, a nurse, or an accountant, back pain is something to be feared. Nothing can ruin a day like the sting of a pinched nerve or a sore muscle along your spine. But what happens when a day of pain turns into weeks, or months? Why does some people’s pain persist while others with similar injuries heal?
A new study published in Nature Neuroscience has elucidated the differences between people who heal quickly after suffering a back injury, and those who do not. According to a team of Northwestern University researchers, the difference lies in the level of connectivity, that is the amount of communication that occurs, between the brain’s nucleus accumbens and the prefontal cortex.
This study not only marks an important step towards identifying patients who are more likely to develop chronic pain, but also lends support to the age-old saying that pain really is all in your head.
Scientists demonstrate that it is possible to dissociate brain waves from actions, possibly identifying a new way to operate prosthetics.
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Roald Dahl’s Matilda was a favorite book of mine as a child, and this, long before the movie was released in 1996. Like many children, I wished I could move objects using only my mind, just like the little girl in that book. Although that specific skill probably won’t be possible in our lifetime, scientists recently revealed that we are now one step closer to harnessing the mind’s power to move objects and, more importantly, we are now also one step close to significantly improving the lives of people affected by spinal cord injuries.
In an article published in Nature, Dr. Jose M. Carmena and his team of researchers reveal that they have been able to isolate specific brain waves independently from the physical movement that they normally trigger. Thus, this innovative study opens up the possibility of prosthetics that could be completely controlled by the mind, allowing people who are completely paralyzed to use them.