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How Neuroscience can Transform the Treatment of Chronic Pain

Translational neuroscientist Dr. Peter V. Madill believes the key to solving chronic pain will be found in the neurological machinery that produces the signal.

Dr. Peter V. Madill has dedicated decades of research to the proposition that translational neuroscience—the application of neuroscience research in clinical settings—holds the key to unlocking new solutions in the treatment of chronic pain. If hard cases of "untreatable suffering" originate in the brain itself, then understanding the brain in new ways is the key to curing them.   

“When you factor in [everything involved in] the signaling of injury,” Madill says, “[it] offers windows to their own interventions.”

Everything we feel–every sensation that we observe in our bodies–is rooted in brain signals. Madill’s research uses that as a starting point, and attempts to move beyond the problem that has stumped modern medicine for so long: How to explain the pain of patients whose complaints have no clear physiological explanation? 

Madill’s model focuses on how the body and brain produce sensations of pain and where “information reporting serious injury in the body is processed.” He anticipates that, with time, conventional medical practitioners will adopt a more neurologically informed approach to chronic pain treatment. 

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“It’s all to help patients get better,” he said. 

Watch the full interview: