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NIH Study in Mice Explains How Brain Can Turn Pain Signals Up or Down

A new study in mice uncovered a previously unknown role that the central amygdala can play in upgrading or downgrading pain signals in the brain’s circuitry. The study, published in Cell Reports, was conducted by researchers at the Division of Intramural Research at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), part of the National Institutes of Health.  

The Association of Early Life Stressors with Pain Sensitivity and Pain Experience at 22 Years

Early life stress (ELS) can significantly influence biological pathways associated with nociception, increasing vulnerability to future heightened pain sensitivity and subsequent risk of pain events. However, very little human research has investigated the association of ELS, measured across multiple domains, with future pain sensitivity. Data from Gen1 and Gen2 of the Raine Study were used to assess the association between a wide range of early life stressors, including in antenatally, and pressure and cold pain sensitivity at young adulthood.  

An Evolutionary Medicine Perspective on Pain and Its Disorders

Abstract: Enormous progress in understanding the mechanisms that mediate pain can be augmented by an evolutionary medicine perspective on how the capacity for pain gives selective advantages, the trade-offs that shaped the mechanisms, and evolutionary explanations for the system’s vulnerability to excessive and chronic pain. Syndromes of deficient pain document tragically the utility of pain to motivate escape from and avoidance of situations causing tissue damage.

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