Chronic pain affects 290 million people worldwide, and is an extremely unpleasant experience to endure every day. No wonder global sales of chronic pain medications are the highest of any neuropharmaceutical sales topping over 26 billion globally. The need for pain relief that doesn’t produce unwanted side effects, like a serious addiction, has reached an all-time high. Thankfully there are researchers like Dr. Grégory Scherrer at Stanford who are making extraordinary breakthroughs in our understanding of pain mechanisms in the brain. In a study published recently in Science, Greg Corder and other colleagues from the Scherrer lab collaborated with Biafra Ahanonu and others from the Schnitzer lab, using Inscopix miniscopes to visualize circuits in the amygdala involved in the emotional experience of pain. The hope is that soon we can develop more targeted and effective therapeutics for chronic pain without the addiction.
In this podcast, Greg and I focus on the neuroscience of pain and pain therapies, and we spend most of the time unpacking his lab’s current research on the neural circuits of more affective aspects of pain. It’s a great conversation, and one part flows to the next, so best to listen from start to finish.