Friday, November 28, 2014

New Scientific discovery: Pain can be "turned-off"

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Alex Schadenberg
Most people recognize that legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide will lead to abuse with some people dying without request or being coerced into euthanasia, with support for euthanasia based on the fear of living with uncontrolled pain. The control of pain has significantly improved since the late 1960's when Cicely Saunders began to develop modern hospice techniques in the UK.

On November 26, Science Daily reported on a great new scientific discovery concerning the control of pain. Researchers at the St Louis University Medical Center published results of research in the medical journal Brain showing that the researchers may have found a way to block pain pathways which could lead to the effective control of neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is usually what has developed when people have uncontrolled pain.

Science daily reported that there may be an "off switch" for pain:

Saint Louis University researcher Daniela Salvemini, Ph.D. and colleagues within SLU, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other academic institutions have discovered a way to block a pain pathway in animal models of chronic neuropathic pain including pain caused by chemotherapeutic agents and bone cancer pain suggesting a promising new approach to pain relief. 
The scientific efforts ... demonstrated that turning on a receptor in the brain and spinal cord counteracts chronic nerve pain in male and female rodents. Activating the A3 receptor -- either by its native chemical stimulator, the small molecule adenosine, or by powerful synthetic small molecule drugs invented at the NIH -- prevents or reverses pain that develops slowly from nerve damage without causing analgesic tolerance or intrinsic reward (unlike opioids).
This research offers hope for people who are living with chronic pain or pain that has developed while receiving treatment for cancer.

My friends, Reg and Charlie, live with chronic pain that is lessened by analgesics but not controlled. Both of these men could benefit from developments related to this research.

The lead researcher in the study, Dr Daniela Salvernini, stated:

"It has long been appreciated that harnessing the potent pain-killing effects of adenosine could provide a breakthrough step towards an effective treatment for chronic pain," 
"Our findings suggest that this goal may be achieved by focusing future work on the A3AR pathway, in particular, as its activation provides robust pain reduction across several types of pain."
More research is needed into the control of pain and symptom management. Effective control of pain is possible.

Society needs to focus on killing the pain, not the patient.

Links to more information:


rob jonquière said...

If you postulate that "uncontrollable pain" is the (main)reason for an individual to ask for termination of life, the discovery of an off-switch for pain is indeed a step forward to argue against the necessity to develop aid-in-dying laws. But, serious and credible scientific research has shown that "loosing control and meaningless suffering" with 69% tops the list of reasons, where "pain" scores 29% on 6th position.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Dear Rob:

We actually agree.

Most people ask to be killed due to a fear of suffering or a supposed loss of meaning. That is why euthanasia has been extended to many groups of people who one would never imagine death to be an option.

Nonetheless, the world is being falsely sold euthanasia as a benefit for people in pain.

rob jonquière said...

Dear Alex,
... falsely sold as a benefit for... pain? Who is doing that? Our WFRtDS organizations are selling (if that's the word you want to use) a death with dignity, not one without pain. And by publishing the enthusiastic news about buttons to turn off pain in connection with a discussion on dying with dignity, such publications suggest that "taking away the pain" will take away the need for assisted suicide or euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg said...

I know that the Netherlands claims that euthanasia is for suffering, but I also understand that the Netherlands and Belgium accept euthanasia for psychological suffering. Whatever that means.

But now that the Netherlands and Belgium are considering euthanasia for "Tired of Living" I guess it never had anything to do with pain, only with causing death.