Yale researchers report the first evidence that phantom pain following spinal cord injury is the result of hypersensitive neurons in the thalamic region of the brain that can be suppressed with specially designed molecular agents.
"A majority of people with spinal cord injury and limb amputations experience phantom sensations of excruciating pain at or below the level of their paralysis or loss," said Bryan Hains, associate research scientist and co-author of the study.
Typically, the perception of pain travels through three orders of neurons. The first order neurons carry signals from the periphery to the spinal cord, the second order neurons relay this information from the spinal cord to the thalamus and the third order neurons transmit the information from the thalamus to the primary sensory cortex where the information is processed, resulting in the "feeling" of pain.
Jacqueline Weaver | EurekAlert!
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