Study Shows Fiber Implants Inhibit Nerve Pain with Light Pulses

According to the article “Experimental Fiber Implants Block Nerve PainImage of woman with shoulder pain with Light” (10.20.23) by Pat Anson for Pain News Network, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have created experimental fiber implants that could possibly be used to inhibit nerve pain by delivering pulses of light from inside the body.

The hydrogel fibers are unique from current implants in that they are flexible and stretch with the body’s movements. These newly developed fibers are capable of adapting to natural motion and work without restricting the subject’s movements which in turn helps to provide more accurate data.

In lab tests using mice with genetically modified nerves, researchers used the fiber implants to send blue light to the sciatic nerve, triggering the hind limb muscles of the animals. It was observed that when using yellow pulses of light, neuropathic pain in the mice was inhibited.

The MIT engineers consider the fibers mainly as a research tool that can aid them in studying the causes and potential treatments of peripheral nerve disorders in animals.

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