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Pain Roundup

August 27, 2010

Researchers have developed a pill from the saliva of venomous sea snails that could be used to treat chronic pain.


The key to chronic pain. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Doctors know how to numb the pain of a wound, but are stymied by chronic pain that goes on for long periods and has no obvious source. A study in the journal Genome Research may provide some answers. Scientists identified a single gene on chromosome 15 in mice that was associated with chronic pain. They then looked at human breast cancer patients with long-term pain, and found that the same gene was anomalous in them. The researchers say 20% of adults experience some form of chronic pain; this new finding offers hope for some relief.

In other pain research, scientists in Australia have developed a pain-killing pill from the saliva of venomous sea snails. They say the drug is as effective as morphine, without being addictive. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.