Understanding the pain of nerve damage | Action Medical Research

Understanding the pain of nerve damage

14 September 2001
Liverpool researchers have successfully completed a 3-year study looking at the severe pain caused by nerve damage. Funded by leading medical research charity Action Research, the study focused on nerve damage caused through surgery or trauma and diseases such as diabetes. Pain arising from nerve injury is difficult to treat - painkillers such as morphine or aspirin do not reduce the severe pain generated by such damage. In some types of nerve injury a light touch to the damaged area is enough to cause severe pain. Action Researchers studied the changes that take place following nerve injury. Some changes involve 'rewiring' of nerve connections, whilst others involve changes in the way information is processed. These researches have shown that chronic pain does not occur as a direct result of 'rewiring', as previously thought, but that abnormal inhibitory processes could account for the changes in sensation experienced following nerve injury. The project also concluded that through careful analysis of these inhibitory processes, chronic pain maybe preventable and possibly reversible by drug treatment. The £92,000 study took place at the University of Liverpool was led by Dr Richard Morris. Action Research is currently funding 8 projects in the city including work on cerebral palsy, preventing brain injury in premature babies and stroke rehabilitation. The 8 projects total a financial commitment of just under £610,000. Action Research is fast approaching its 50th anniversary in 2002 and will celebrate 50 years of funding groundbreaking medical research. For further information or to interview Dr Richard Morris about his findings, please contact Duncan Barkes in the press office on 01403 327404.
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