RATS! Hunger, Chronic pain & Me

Penn neuroscientists have found that animals’ brains can suppress feelings of chronic pain when they are hungry.

The study, which was published in the science journal Cell, found that temporarily shutting down chronic pain is part of animals’ survival behaviors when searching for food.

According to a press release, approximately 300 neurons are capable of shifting the brain’s focus to hunger, thus eclipsing the effect of chronic pain.

The researchers apparently didn’t set out expecting that hunger would influence pain sensation so significantly, but when they saw these behaviors unfold, it made sense to them. “If you’re an animal, it doesn’t matter if you have an injury, you need to be able to overcome that in order to go find the nutrients you need to survive.”

The Penn team also discovered that the neurotransmitter NPY is primarily responsible for selectively suppressing pain responses. This research could potentially be applied in humans to ameliorate chronic pain after injuries and serve as an alternative to opioid medications.

Naked Mole Rat sez:  “At your service. We rodents are here to help”.


19 comments on “RATS! Hunger, Chronic pain & Me

  1. Wow, that’s some interesting revelation. Maybe that explains why people who are in shock or extremely depressed sometimes are not interested in food at all (it’s that case with me anyway). As if one could stop the inner pain by that, though of course it never really works as far as I can tell. On the contrary, when depression hits eating well (and healthy) is so important.
    I hope that whichever way you choose it will help you with the pain!


    • Sarah,
      My guess is that since each of us has a slightly different neurochemical make-up research is “RE-search” and what applies to one doesn’t apply to all. However, I still think some of the findings are fascinating and ultimately the mind-body is trying to protect us, heal us and guide us. I’m guiessing with this research the pain response may be dampened if not eliminated. (we don’t want to eliminate pain – it’s a critical messenger that something ain’t right!)
      Thank you for your great comment – I hadn’t thought about those instances.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think your voice should be heard by all doctors and researchers since it is proven that we all are a bit different from each others and yet medicaments don’t respect those differences enough, like with adults-childs, women-men. If course it would mean huge expenses on behalf of the health systems which is why these things won’t be properly handled, although some beginnings are being made.
        Sorry for the rant! 😂


  2. So, we should stay hungry to hurt less? Interesting.
    BTW, I’m there with you now.
    I don’t know what happened with me, but I can’t seem to stop eating.
    I’m having a very hard time with it. Mentally it’s scaring me.


  3. This is fascinating research. I still wish there was an easier way to eat healthy foods and leave off the sugary crap I don’t need. Will power is in short supply in my corner, unfortunately. With your chronic condition, a healthy diet is even more important. You know I hope you feel better and get better.

    Liked by 1 person

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