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Nobel Prize 2021 recognises pain research!
on 12 Oct 2021 11:53 AM

The Nobel Committee has awarded this year’s prize in medicine to two scientists who have advanced our understanding of the detection process for “somatosensation,” the sense responsible for the perceptions of touch, temperature, vibration, pain and proprioception – the body’s ability to sense its own movements and position in space.

Pain Relief Ireland wants to congratulate the long-term work of David Julius, a professor of physiology at the University of California, San Francisco, and Ardem Patapoutian, a neuroscientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Scripps Research, who were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their pioneering work identifying proteins that the body uses to detect temperature and pressure. The work of Julius and Patapoutian has greatly expanded scientists’ views of how the nervous system deciphers the external and internal world by introducing us to entirely new classes of sensory receptors. Their findings have yielded critical and novel insights into the physiology of temperature, pain and touch sensation.

Dr. Dominic Hegarty (Clinical Director at Pain Relief Ireland) understands and explains the importance of the award to the world of pain medicine. “The work of these teams have help unravel key steps in the processes by which temperature and pressure are recognized by sensory cells and converted into signals that can be interpreted by the brain as perceptions such as warmth, cold or texture. These “sensations” are often reported by chronic pain patients and we often describe them as “neuropathic features”.

In fact Dr. Hegarty is himself a long-term researcher into the clinical relationship of pain and the functional features of temperature changes, cold, warmth and hypersensitivity having first published his work in 2006.

The association between clinical findings, magnetic resonance imaging and pre-operative quantitative sensory testing in patients undergoing lumbar discectomy
Hegarty D., Moore M, Maher M, Shorten G., European Journal of Radiology 2006; 23(37):234

Thinking Ahead!

At Pain Relief Ireland our ambition is to provide the best and most advanced investigational and interventional options to help manage pain. We understood the potential importance of QST and sensory testing and we have invested in the development of a specific clinical QST clinic to establish the functional status or dysfunction of the sensory for individual.

Dr. Hegarty says that “By using this simple non-invasive computerised observation we are the first clinic to build this into our management of chronic pain”.

This will guide how best to treat pain.

At present Dr. Hegarty and Pain Relief Ireland are collaborating with the Department of Physiology, UCC in a pilot study to characteristic QST patterns in those individuals undergoing neuromodulation treatment to guide the choice of programming algorithm most suited to individuals. This is certainly exciting times to be managing pain!

If you suffer from neuropathic pain or any chronic pain condition that seems to be impacting on your daily life then wait no longer!  Contact Pain Relief Ireland now and take you first step to regaining your life.