Why time does not heal all wounds: Chronic Pain
Pain is simultaneously an angel and a tormentor! At the heart of an expanding and dynamic area in biomedical sciences lies the question about how normal 'pain', which is considered a protective body function in everyday life, can change into a severely debilitating chronic disease that ruins the quality of life in a large fraction of the world's population. What happens when a physiological pain reaction turns into a self-sustained activity of the nervous system? Which molecular cascades come into play, and importantly, can this knowledge be employed to reverse pathological pain?
During the February 2017 Science and Society lecture of the Heidelberg EMBL Prof. Kuner discussed work beginning at the entry point of noxious afferents, the spinal dorsal horn including the molecular identity of key players and their precise orchestration at spinal synapses up to the cerebral processing of the abstract sensation 'pain'.