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I Don’t (Feel Your Pain) February 1, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in death, inventions, science, Wild West.
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People I’ve loved have gone through incredible amounts of pain, and the Rx of painkillers was sometimes denied. Can’t have those terminal cancer patients getting hooked on morphine, you know.

Most painkillers, especially the opiates, don’t really do anything about stopping the pain but rather screw with the brain so it’s not being felt in the “proper” way. When my dad had his gall bladder removed, they pumped him full of Demerol. He said he still felt the pain but it didn’t matter.

In olden days Laudanum and other tinctures of opium were most common painkillers, other than a belly full of rotgut whiskey. Chomping down on a bullet while doctors hacked off limbs wasn’t the best of situations. If you want some grisly descriptions of medical arts during the Civil War, check out Doctors in Blue and Doctors in Gray.

So, the morphine and Demerol and Oxycontin are advances, if inefficient ones. But now Stony Brook U researchers might have come up with a painkiller without addictive side effects. This is the kind of discovery (invention?) that is a game changer when it comes to cancer treatment and other chronic pain.

Short of jacking into the brain and directly erasing the pain signals, this is a major step forward. But it might also be one of those abused items. Athletes and soldiers can be pushed past where they would normally give up since the side effects don’t seem to include fuzzy thinking or other physical glitches. But the benefits!

Better living through chemistry. This is a seriously needed advance.

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