Researchers in Sydney have come up with a fix for chronic pain that's not really a fix at all: a smart chip that, when embedded in the spine, intercepts and blocks pain messages en route to the brain.
The smart chip is embedded in the spine or somewhere else between the brain and the source of chronic pain. The chip itself is housed in a biocompatible casing that is smaller than the head of a match. That in turn is wired to a larger implanted device containing a battery – which charges wirelessly from an outside source – and a computer processor.
According to its designers at National ICT Australia (NICTA), the chip can measure the properties of signals and pick out the ones that are carrying pain to the nerve center. When it sees a pain signal headed brainward, it can send out a 10-volt electric pulse that blocks the pain signal; no signal, no pain.
The device is designed for those with serious chronic back pain or leg pain, though it could ostensibly be used to block all kinds of pains in the body. That in turn could increase productivity in workers suffering from chronic pain and save patients and health care systems fair sums of money.
It also seems like it could fool the brain into ignoring something potentially important. After all, pain exists to let us know something is wrong, and it's not difficult to picture scenarios where interfering with that natural signal pathway could lead to larger, more pronounced problems. That being said, the potential to help Brett Favre play through three more seasons can't be bad.
Give people the ability to turn it on and off and we have more Ghost in the Shell tech right here (they could turn on and off their pain receptors)
Implant these in soldiers and they can switch their pain on and off. May come in handy.
Seems like it would be possible for a catastrophic failure... what if the chip breaks and instead starts amplifying the pain signals?
Then it would be like technological torture...
If they start implanting this in soldiers or special agents they will probably include a "produce pain" setting in order to have control over that person.
"Oh really? You don't want to sign up for another tour? Hmmm... how about THIS!? **cranks up pain**"
Wouldn't this come to a faster death? If you don't know that your hurting yourself, wouldn't that mean that you are doing more damage to your body?
Just like pain killers. They take away the pain but by doing this you make the person feel as if they can do what they couldn't do before, such as jumping and slaming down, cartwheels, flips, etc.
For an old person who had a severe back that took these, they would probably snap their spinal cord. Example:
Grandma: "I can run again! Look at me do a back arch at 60 degrees...Snap!"
Electrical Engineering Inventor/Programmer/Designer
Vale Varka Systems.com
I for one have found that at this point I don't get a break whether I am hurting or not. So to be able to turn off the pain, or dull it would be great. As to the adverse affects. Well let me put it this way I think a short good life is way better than a long painful one. To be short at some point in my mind I would rather be shot in the head than deal with the pain I get in my back.
And seriously back off with one of the post verifications. Either get rid of captcha or get rid of the are you really sure this is what you want to post with yet another captcha. I mean really couldn't you just do a captcha once when we log in?
@ twobrain: I gotta tell ya, if the multiple captchas are what has to be endured to beat the spammers-some of whom throw spam for multiple ad agencies so they spam the same sites ten times a day or more every single day-then that's just what it's gotta be. If there is only one captcha at login, then what's to stop them from using the 'stay logged in'? What we are getting right now is likely only a temporary reprieve anyway, so just deal, and enjoy having the capability to actually have conversations on here while it lasts.
VERY INTERESTING, I HAVE BEEN DEALING WITH CRONIC BACK PAIN FOR OVER 23 YEARS, I AM 49 NOW. DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE IN LUMBAR SECTION(FIRST CAME FROM RUPTURED DISC),SPINAL ARTHRITIS, FACET DEGENERATION, PINCHED NERVES, STENOSIS AND ARTHRITIS IN BOTH HIPS AND HIP JOINTS(LAST SEVERAL YEARS) AS YOU CAN IMAGINE, THIS CONDITION HAS WORSENED OVER THE YEARS, I WENT FROM PLAYING GOLF(PAINFUL, BUT STILL ABLE) TO BARELY BEING ABLE TO WALK TO THE MAIL BOX WITHOUT CRYING IN JUST TWO YEARS. SO MY #1 CONCERN IS PAIN RELIEF. MY EXCRUCIATING PAIN SEEMS TO ROTATE AMONGST THE VARIOUS PROBLEMS I HAVE. SOME DAYS CERTAIN THINGS ARE BETTER SOME NOT. WHEN IT RAINS, JUST HAND ME A BOTTLE OF 12 YEAR OLD SCOTCH AND A LAMPSHADE. SERIOUSLY, MY QUESTION WITH THIS DEVICE IS, IT SENDS OUT ELECTRICAL SIGNALS, YOUR BODY SENDS OUT ELECTRICAL SIGNALS, HOW DO YOU PREVENT THIS NEW SIGNAL FROM INTERFERING WITH YOUR BODIES NORMAL SIGNALS? AND JUST AS THIS DEVICE IS SUPPOSED TO BLOCK THE PAIN SIGNAL, WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF IT WERE TO REVERSE AND AMPLIFY/INTENSIFY IT? AND REMEMBER, PAIN IS A SIGNAL, YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO IT, YOU MAY DO FURTHER DAMAGE THAN YOU ALREADY HAVE. IS THERE A WAY TO TRY THIS DEVICE WITHOUT ACTUALLY HAVING TO HAVE IT IMPLANTED? I WOULD LOVE TO GIVE IT A TRY.
I have had 2 spinal column stimulator implants and am now with an experimental brain implant.
The first implant took away approximately 85% of my face pain, from trigeminal neuralgia and atypical facial pain. Unfortunately as a result of events peripherally related to the implant I lost it to an infection. The second one, placed in the same area did not work, probably because of all the scar tissue from the first as well as other surgery done previously through the same area. I lost that also to an infectioin, the causeof whihc was being touchy feely with a friend who had a severe infection. This current implant does seem to be helping some.
To my knowledge they are relatively benign. There is a test done first with the chip itself being outside of your body. (Mine was placed in 86, so I talk of my knowledge from back then.)
You are able to turn it on and off, you are given a programmer that can do that. I have a computer that also allows me to change the polarities, amplitude, amount of time on and off and more.
Te only way it should make sure pain worse if it is helping or even doing nothing (again to my knowledge and I am not an MD or medical professional)is for the pain to return when the battery dies. Sometimes when you have not found the right vcombination of wire, time, etc it can make the pain worse but if that is so you turn it off or have the doc/technician work with you to find the right combination(s)
It is like having a drug that helps Mark. Most pain patients are not stupid and do not suddenly start doing cartwheels or for me, stick a pin in my eye, because the pain has gotten better.
This is a very viable treatment, one that has been around long enough that there is data to back it up, as well as those who were in chronic intractable pain and unable who re now able.
Carol Levy, author A PAINED LIFE, a chronic pain journey