Americans consume so many opioids not because they suffer more pain than people in other countries. It has more to do with the lack of regulation in the US compared to Italy and France and other developed nations.
The Washington Post noted that the US has an unusually friendly environment for manufacturers to market opioids aggressively and to donate generously to political causes and regulatory bodies. Those features of American exceptionalism, and not the exceptional physical pain, sparked the worst opioid epidemic in history.
Daily doses of opioids
Data from the UN for 2012-2014 show that standard daily doses of opioids consumer per capita are roughly comparable in Italy with 6,246 and France with 8,706. However, in the US, the figure reaches a staggering 50,142. It said that despite suffering chronic pain at a similar rate as the Italians and the French, Americans consume six to eight times as many opioid painkillers.
Finding the right treatment plan can be challenging to find all natural pain relief that really works. Unfortunately, many medications have side effects and can end up only treating the painful symptoms but can do so at the expense of experiencing significant side effects.
Reliawire noted that the brain has a mechanism to suppress chronic pain when an animal is hungry. At this time, the animal has a mechanism to go look for food, which the responses to acute pain, a study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania neuroscientists indicate.
The researchers pinpointed a tiny population of 300 brain cells responsible for the ability to prioritize hunger over chronic pain. It is a group of neurons that may offer targets for novel pain therapies.
Importance of pain
Pain is important because, without it, a person may let a hand linger over a hot stove. However, longer lasting pain, such as the inflammatory pain that can arise after an injury, can be debilitating and expensive and can prevent the patient from completing important tasks. In natural settings, the lethargy caused by such pain could even hinder survival.
The lab of J. Nicholas Betley, an assistant professor of biology in Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences, focused on studying hunger, in particular, how hunger can alter perception. He was curious about how hunger may interact with the sensation of pain, so the researchers observed how mice that had not eaten for 24 hours responded to either acute pain or longer-term inflammatory pain which is thought to involve sensitization of neural circuits in the brain.
The researchers discovered that the hungry mice still responded to sources of acute pain but seemed less responsive to inflammatory pain compared to well-fed mice. The behavior was similar to that of mice that had been given an anti-inflammatory painkiller.
They found out that in a conditioning experiment, the hungry rodents did not avoid a place where they have been exposed to inflammatory pain, while the mice that were not hungry avoided the place.
The results of the experiment left the question on what part of the brain was processing this intersection between hunger and pain. To find the answer, the researcher experimentally turned on a group of neurons known to be activated by hunger, agouti-related protein neurons, and they found that chronic pain responses subsided, while acute pain responses stayed intact.
The researchers used optogenetics to find that stimulation of only a few hundred AgRP neurons that project to the parabrachial nucleus significantly suppressed inflammatory pain.
More experiments identified the neurotransmitter, a molecule called Neuropeptide Y as responsible for selectively blocking inflammatory pain responses. The blocking receptors for NPY reversed the effects of hunger, and pain returned.
The researchers said that if their findings can hold up to humans, the neural circuit offers a target for ameliorating the chronic pain which can linger after injuries. It is a type of pain that is currently often addressed by opioid medications, the drug that also inhibits acute pain.
Eugene Daily News noted studies which showed that 25.3 million Americans suffer from chronic pain and almost 70 percent of Americans are prescribed at least one prescription drug such as painkillers.
The website noted that it can also be challenging to find all-natural pain relief that truly works. There are times when patients have a difficult time selecting something natural over prescription pills; however, unfortunately, many medications have side effects and can end up harming their bodies in the long run.
It said that natural pain relievers are natural substances that help ease the pain, and these are found in many foods and herbs. These include turmeric, ginger, and sage. These are often added to ointments to be used topically. Some are administered orally, through capsules or oils.
The list includes cannabis, capsaicin, turmeric, menthol, ginger, Valerian root, Cat’s Claw, Boswellia, Kava Kava, St. John’s Wort, Rosemary, and Lavender.
[researchpaper 리서치페이퍼=Vittorio Hernandez 기자]