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Giving a keynote lecture, Dr Thacker advised delegates to move away from purely mechanical-based therapies for back pain patients, and become more aware of the role of neuro-immnunology in relation to pain.
“Traditional physiotherapy has based its management of back pain on anatomical, tissue-based principles and biomechanics”, said Dr Thacker. Continue reading Let go of outdated paradigms and stop dwelling on Biomechanical tissue-based models when treating Back Pain.
The brain drain is real. There is a network of previously unrecognised vessels that rid the brain of unwanted extracellular fluids and other substances, including amyloid-beta – a peptide that accumulates in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s. The new discovery looks set to add to our understanding of the disease.
Jeffrey Iliff at the University of Rochester Medical Centre, New York, and his colleagues, were intrigued by the fact that there are no obvious lymphatic vessels in the brain. Among other things, the lymphatic system removes waste interstitial fluids from body tissue.
“It seemed strange that such an important and active organ wouldn’t have a specialised waste-removal system,” says Iliff.
When the researchers added fluorescent and radioactive tracers to the cerebrospinal fluid of live mice, the tracers quickly spread throughout the rodents’ brains. Using two-photon microscopy to visualise the movement in real-time, the team saw cerebrospinal fluid permeating the entire brain through ‘pipes’ surrounding blood vessels, similar to the lymphatic system that services all other organs.
The pipes work on hydraulic principles, though, and so the system breaks upon opening, making it hard to identify it outside living organisms. Continue reading The Brains Drain System
HAS anyone told you lately you’re electric? Well, you are. Your every pore oozes with the stuff. Must be all those ions you’ve been pumping. And we’re not just talking about nerve impulses here: every surface of your body, from your skin to your cell membranes, is humming with electrical activity.
Biologists have known for more than 200 years that nerve impulses are transmitted electrically. But only recently have they started eavesdropping on the electrical chatter of the rest of your body, and have discovered that electricity, in the form of electric fields, plays a vital role in numerous biological processes from embryonic development to cell division, nerve regeneration and wound repair. “The phenomenon is broadly applicable and I think we have only scratched the surface of something that is evolutionarily highly conserved and widely used,” says Colin McCaig of the University of Aberdeen, UK, who has been working on the biological effects of electric fields since the 1980s. Continue reading The Body Electric
Originating in ancient China, Acupuncture has been used for 2500 years. Traditional Chinese medicine holds that disease is caused by blockages and imbalances of energy (known as chi) flowing through meridians in the body, and can be eased by inserting needles at specific points.
Since the 1970s, Acupuncture has become more popular outside east Asia. Once widely considered a quack medicine, there is now tentative support for its use in certain conditions from respected official bodies such as the World Health Organisation, the National Health Service in the UK and the National Institutes of Health in the US.
There is evidence that Acupuncture is effective in treating a range of conditions including spinal injuries, back & neck pain, migraine headaches, infertility and the side effects of chemotherapy , and that its effects aren’t entirely due to the placebo effect. Recent research is now showing why Acupuncture works.
Wenjing Huang of Charité University Medical Center, Berlin, Germany, and colleagues used more than 100 studies to produce these brain maps of 18 acupuncture points. Areas of the brain activated by stimulating a point are shown in red; areas deactivated are shown in blue.
For example, the two vision-related points GB37 (gall bladder) and UB60 (urinary bladder) showed deactivation in visual brain areas like the Cuneus. The team concluded that Acupuncture seems to affect the brain’s processing of both physical Sensations and Emotions. For now, though, the source of Chi remains elusive.
JON LEVINE was just testing painkillers on people who’d had a wisdom tooth extracted, when he uncovered rather more than he’d bargained for. The women in his study group found that strong painkillers related to morphine, called kappa-opioids, were most effective at numbing pain. But the same drugs didn’t work for the men at all. “In fact, the doses used in the clinical trial made pain worse for men,” says Levine, a clinical neuroscientist from the University of California in San Francisco.
He was shocked. “The idea that a therapy that had been around for decades could affect women and men in such dramatically different ways was anathema,” he says. “It was such an incredible mindset in the field of pain, missing what had clearly gone on in front of their eyes for years.” Continue reading His Pain : Her Pain