Using a specific frequency of light to modulate a region of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex lessened pain responses in laboratory mice, according to researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington.
The research focused on chemical irritants and mechanical pain, such as that experienced following a pinprick or pinch.
The researchers concluded that their results may lead to increased understanding of pain pathways and strategies for managing chronic pain, which often leads to severe impairment of normal psychological and physical functions.
“These results underscore the inhibition of the anterior cingulate cortex as a clinical alternative in inhibiting chronic pain, and leads to a better understanding of the pain processing circuitry of the cingulate cortex,” the researchers wrote in the study’s abstract.
Young-tae Kim, a UT Arlington associate professor of bioengineering and study co-author, said in a press release that the research could “possibly lead to less invasive methods for treating more severe types of pain without losing important emotional, sensing and behavioral functions.”