Using a wireless electrical device, stimulation of an area deep in the brain may be able to block pain signals at the spinal cord level without the use of opioids.

The device was developed by Yuan Bo Peng, a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), and J.-C Chiao, an electrical engineering professor at UTA.

They detail their device and its use to help ease chronic pain in a recent study published in Experimental Brain Research, according to a media release from UTA.

In their study, the researchers suggest that simulation of the brain’s ventral tegmented area using their wireless device helped reduce the sensation of pain. According to the team, brain stimulation using the device helped reduce pain signals in the spinal cord, effectively blocking the perception of pain.

“Until this study, the ventral segmental area of the brain was studied more for its key role in positive reinforcement, reward, and drug abuse,” Peng says in the release. “We have now confirmed that stimulation of this area of the brain can also be an analgesic tool.”

[Source(s): University of Texas at Arlington, Science Daily]