Getting rid of pain can be very frustrating. Pills offer a lot of help, it’s true, but what can you do when you can’t get your hands on any of them? Northwestern University researchers think they have the long-awaited answer: a small and stretchy device that can wrap around nerves to stop them from sending pain signals to the brain, according to CNET.
Obviously, the procedure for the device to work involves some surgery. Doctors will have to add the device beneath the patient’s skin in order to do its thing with the nerves. But the device is as thick as a piece of paper, so there’s no need to worry too much.
Numbing the nerves responsible for feeling pain
For a person to feel pain, the nerves need to send the right signal to the brain. It happens instantly, so that’s the area where scientists can play if they want to make some of us get rid of the pain. The new device, which is a prototype for the moment, works by numbing those nerves and halting the pain signal from reaching the brain.
Matthew MacEwan, a co-author of the study and who works at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, stated:
As you cool down a nerve, the signals that travel through the nerve become slower and slower — eventually stopping completely,
We are specifically targeting peripheral nerves, which connect your brain and your spinal cord to the rest of your body.
By delivering a cooling effect to just one or two targeted nerves, we can effectively modulate pain signals in one specific region of the body.
There’s not even the need to remove the device surgically once it finishes its task. Instead, it will just dissolve naturally in the human body.
The new invention will appear in more detail in Science.