After years of research a wonder medicine gives us the miracle of painless life. Researchers at the University College London have identified the one particle that is specific for humans’ pain sensation, that is, Sodium channel Nav1.7.
Opioids have been used for a long time to suppress or alleviate the pain sensation of patients with advanced medical conditions. Both medical experts and researchers, who have come in close contact with these substances are aware of the negative consequences that may arise from their use, namely, lack of self-control and addiction.
For this reason, scientists have decided to study the problem from another perspective. They have looked at the human cells or substances that cause pain sensations. Experiments have enabled them to identify the Sodium channel Nav1.7 as the culprit for the physical agony humans often go through.
The behavior of this substance was first observed in mice and then, studied on a real person. All of the participants were diagnosed with mutant diseases that prevented them from feeling any pain. When they were administered the Nav1.7 sodium channel, they immediately started feeling pain.
The same experiment was reproduced on a female patient, who lacked pain sensations. The woman was even subjected to laser burns, but they did not have any effects on her. When doctors administered her the Nav1.7 magical potion she immediately began sensing physical discomfort.
Not feeling any pain at all may seem like a supernatural power for most people, but in real life it is actually a very unpleasant disease. Patients become physically hurt because they do not realize they are putting themselves in danger. Children can event chew their fingers until they start bleeding because they don’t know when to stop.
Sodium channel Nav7.1 did not just explain medical experts how these illnesses can be treated. It also works the other way around suggesting doctors how to improve opioid-like effects on patients. By administering Nav7.1 blockers, doctors will boost the efficiency of pain drugs. This way, patients won’t have to use bigger doses to get rid of physical discomfort.
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