Insects can feel'chronic pain' which lasts long after they have suffered an injury, a new study has found. Fruit flies experience a similar kind of discomfort to humans who are struck down by sciatica, a pinched nerve or an injured spinal cord, scientists found. They also remain'hypersensitive' to danger even after the wound has healed - and'try to protect themselves for the rest of their lives', the research revealed. Researchers hope their findings on chronic pain could help to develop treatments for humans. Chronic pain is defined as pain that continues after an original injury has healed, University of Sydney researchers said.
"We're taking subperceptual touch events and boosting them into conscious perception," says first author Patrick Ganzer, a principal research scientist at Battelle. "When we did this, we saw several functional improvements. It was a big eureka moment when we first restored the participant's sense of touch." The participant in this study is Ian Burkhart, a 28-year-old man who suffered a spinal cord injury during a diving accident in 2010. Since 2014, Burkhart has been working with investigators on a project called NeuroLife that aims to restore function to his right arm.
A paralysed man can play Guitar Hero again after having his sense of touch restored with a brain-computer interface (BCI) that provides sensory feedback. Ian Burkhart, 28, suffered a severe spinal cord injury during a diving accident in 2010, which caused him to lose his sense of touch. US researchers found that, although Burkhart had almost no sensation in his hand, when they stimulated his skin, a small neural signal still reached his brain. They have since used their BCI to restore sensation in his hand by rerouting these tiny signals from the brain to the muscle, bypassing his damaged spinal cord. Ian Burkhart (left) is a 28-year-old man who suffered a spinal cord injury during a diving accident in 2010.