音+電気的身体刺激で慢性疼痛を治療できる可能性があるとの研究結果(Study finds that sound plus electrical body stimulation has potential to treat chronic pain)

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新しい技術により、様々な慢性疾患や神経疾患を持つ人々の痛みを軽減できる可能性がある。 New technique could relieve pain for individuals with various chronic and neurological conditions

2022-08-11 ミネソタ大学

研究チームは、音と組み合わせた身体の電気刺激が脳の体性感覚野を活性化することを発見し、慢性疼痛やその他の感覚障害の治療にこの技術を用いる可能性が高まっていることを明らかにしました。
実験では、モルモットの体のさまざまな部位を電気的に刺激しながら、広帯域の音を流しました。この2つの組み合わせにより、全身の触覚や痛覚をつかさどる脳の体性感覚野の神経細胞が活性化されることを発見しました。
研究者らは、今回の発見が、薬物療法よりも安全で身近な慢性疼痛の治療法につながることを期待している。

<関連情報>

体性感覚野の局所的かつ広範囲な聴覚変調:痛み治療における音と体のバイモーダル刺激の可能性 Topographic and widespread auditory modulation of the somatosensory cortex: potential for bimodal sound and body stimulation for pain treatment

Cory D Gloeckner, Jian C Nocon and Hubert H Lim
Journal of Neural Engineering  Published 23 June 2022
DOI:http://doi.org/10.1088/1741-2552/ac7665

Abstract

Objective. There has been growing interest in understanding multisensory integration in the cortex through activation of multiple sensory and motor pathways to treat brain disorders, such as tinnitus or essential tremors. For tinnitus, previous studies show that combined sound and body stimulation can modulate the auditory pathway and lead to significant improvements in tinnitus symptoms. Considering that tinnitus is a type of chronic auditory pain, bimodal stimulation could potentially alter activity in the somatosensory pathway relevant for treating chronic pain. As an initial step towards that goal, we mapped and characterized neuromodulation effects in the somatosensory cortex (SC) in response to sound and/or electrical stimulation of the body. Approach. We first mapped the topographic organization of activity across the SC of ketamine-anesthetized guinea pigs through electrical stimulation of different body locations using subcutaneous needle electrodes or with broadband acoustic stimulation. We then characterized how neural activity in different parts of the SC could be facilitated or suppressed with bimodal stimulation. Main results. The topography in the SC of guinea pigs in response to electrical stimulation of the body aligns consistently to that shown in previous rodent studies. Interestingly, auditory broadband noise stimulation primarily excited SC areas that typically respond to stimulation of lower body locations. Although there was only a small subset of SC locations that were excited by acoustic stimulation alone, all SC recording sites could be altered (facilitated or suppressed) with bimodal stimulation. Furthermore, specific regions of the SC could be modulated by stimulating an appropriate body region combined with broadband noise. Significance. These findings show that bimodal stimulation can excite or modulate firing across a widespread yet targeted population of SC neurons. This approach may provide a non-invasive method for altering or disrupting abnormal firing patterns within certain parts of the SC for chronic pain treatment.

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