Discovering the mechanism of pain relief using sound in mice

An international team of scientists has recently identified the neural mechanisms that can reduce pain in laboratory mice through sound. The importance of this issue is that the identification of such a mechanism can greatly contribute to the development of safer methods of pain relief.

BingMag.com Discovering the mechanism of pain relief using sound in mice

An international team of scientists has recently identified the neural mechanisms that can reduce pain in laboratory mice through sound. The importance of this issue is that the identification of such a mechanism can greatly contribute to the development of safer methods of pain relief.

Research on the effects of music on pain relief is not new!

It is interesting to know that studies conducted on humans in the 1960s showed that music and other types of sound can help reduce acute and chronic pain, including pain from dental and medical surgeries, childbirth and cancer. However, at that time the functioning of such a mechanism was poorly understood. New studies from human brain imaging show that certain parts of the brain are involved in the process of soothing with music! Of course, this issue has been followed in animal samples, with further exploration and investigation in neural circuits in order to better identify the neural substrates involved. Because of their anatomical, physiological and genetic similarities to humans, they are considered preferable species to do this work. Also, the small size, ease of maintenance, short life cycle and abundant genetic resources have made mice a good choice for experiments.

Description of pain relief experiment using sounds in mice

BingMag.com Discovering the mechanism of pain relief using sound in mice

In order to understand the mechanism of music relief, the researchers first exposed mice with inflamed paws to three types of sounds. The first sound was a relaxing and pleasant piece of classical music, the second was a rearrangement of the same piece and the third was just white noise.

White noise includes all frequencies audible to the human ear. between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz) that is broadcast with the same intensity or amplitude! The sound of this noise is the same sound we hear when the TV freezes.

The result of this experiment was very interesting! Surprisingly, all three types of sounds, when played at a low intensity as background noise (about a whisper), reduced the mice's sensitivity to pain! While the greater intensity of the same sounds had no effect on the animal's sensitivity to pain. This result is very interesting, because it is the intensity of the sound that matters, not how pleasant it is.

Regardless of how pleasant or unpleasant the sounds are, it is the intensity of the sounds that affects the pain relief of rats.

In order to investigate the brain circuits affected by this event, researchers used non-infectious viruses along with fluorescent proteins to trace the connection between brain regions. During this method, the path from the auditory cortex that receives and processes information related to sound to the thalamus was identified. It is interesting to know that this pathway acts as a location associated with sensory signals including pain. Due to the identification of such a pathway, researchers found that low-intensity white noise reduces the activity of neurons at the end of the pathway in the thalamus.

BingMag.com Discovering the mechanism of pain relief using sound in mice

By reducing the activity of the neurons in the pathway from the auditory cortex of the brain (green and magenta parts) to the thalamus, pain in mice is reduced.

In the absence of sound, scientists were able to apply techniques based on light and small molecules to induce pain-relieving effects (sort of turning off the activity of the neurons in the introduced pathway!), while returning the neurons to their original state. It restores the sensitivity of mice to pain.

Challenges Ahead of Research

Generally speaking, it is not clear whether similar processes are applicable to the human brain, because it is possible In humans, other aspects of sound, such as harmony and pleasantness, should be important for pain relief! In fact, we have no idea whether human music has meaning for rodents or not.

Since in this study the intensity of sounds was the cause of pain relief in mice, one of the questions is whether rodents understand Do they have human music? This issue is important because similar processes for the human brain may be intertwined with other aspects of sound, such as its harmony and pleasantness!

The results of this research can be a starting point for further study on matching Be an animal with a human. Also, if the trials are successful, it may be possible to develop safer alternatives for pain relief in humans!

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The main source of the article: Sound induces analgesia through corticothalamic circuits

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