New Scientific discovery: Pain can be "turned-off"

By Alex SchadenbergExecutive Director - Euthanasia Prevention CoalitionĀ 

Most people recognize that legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide will lead to abuse with some people dying without request or being coerced into euthanasia, with support for euthanasia based on the fear of living with uncontrolled pain. The control of pain has significantly improved since the late 1960's when Cicely Saunders began to develop modern hospice techniques in the UK.

On November 26, Science Daily reported on a great new scientific discovery concerning the control of pain. Researchers at the St Louis University Medical Center published results of research in the medical journal Brain showing that the researchers may have found a way to block pain pathways which could lead to the effective control of neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is usually what has developed when people have uncontrolled pain.

Science daily reported that there may be an "off switch" for pain:

Saint Louis University researcher Daniela Salvemini, Ph.D. and colleagues within SLU, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other academic institutions have discovered a way to block a pain pathway in animal models of chronic neuropathic pain including pain caused by chemotherapeutic agents and bone cancer pain suggesting a promising new approach to pain relief.

The scientific efforts ... demonstrated that turning on a receptor in the brain and spinal cord counteracts chronic nerve pain in male and female rodents. Activating the A3 receptor -- either by its native chemical stimulator, the small molecule adenosine, or by powerful synthetic small molecule drugs invented at the NIH -- prevents or reverses pain that develops slowly from nerve damage without causing analgesic tolerance or intrinsic reward (unlike opioids).

This research offers hope for people who are living with chronic pain or pain that has developed while receiving treatment for cancer.

My friends, Reg and Charlie, live with chronic pain that is lessened by analgesics but not controlled. Both of these men could benefit from developments related to this research.

The lead researcher in the study, Dr Daniela Salvernini, stated:

"It has long been appreciated that harnessing the potent pain-killing effects of adenosine could provide a breakthrough step towards an effective treatment for chronic pain,"

"Our findings suggest that this goal may be achieved by focusing future work on the A3AR pathway, in particular, as its activation provides robust pain reduction across several types of pain."

More research is needed into the control of pain and symptom management. Effective control of pain is possible.

Society needs to focus on killing the pain, not the patient.