Jan 13, 2022
Teens Develop Neuromodulation Device for Pain Relief
A teenage brother and sister recently introduced their innovative invention at the 2022 Consumer Technology Association trade show. Fluxwear Shift is a portable neuromodulation device that puts users into a meditative state to diminish chronic pain. Electromagnetic energy pulses into the wearer’s brain, synchronizing neurons to mimic a meditative state.
Kamran Ansari and his sister, Nadia Ansari, developed the device after Nadia began suffering chronic pain due to Guillain-Barre syndrome in 2017. Today, 16-year-old Kamran and 18-year-old Nadia are marketing Fluxwear Shift through their own company.
Kamran Ansari explained, “What I found to be the most effective was pulsation magnetic field or PMF. I found that a lot of the devices that we would bring home for Nadia to use were a little bit more clunky or so hard to use that they didn’t allow her to use it portably. My goal became creating a PMF device that allowed her to be comfortable to go to school and do all the things that she wanted to do while receiving therapy.”
The result is a small device built into a cadet cap, similar to a baseball cap. It delivers low-level energy through multiple emitters, creating synchronicity similar to the meditative state.
The FDA has approved Fluxwear Shift for use as a meditative aid but not for pain relief. While the Ansaris have tested their product on others who confirm pain relief, clinical trials are being arranged.
Unique College Course on Pain Popular with Undergraduates
A course on pain offered to undergraduates at Seattle’s University of Washington has to turn away students each semester due to the class’s popularity. The five-credit class has been presented every year since it was founded in 2013.
At the 2021 International Association for the Study of Pain’s Virtual World Congress on Pain, Dr. John Loeser, emeritus professor of anesthesia, neurologic surgery, and pain medicine, presented an overview of the multi-disciplinary program. The course is offered to honors students and consistently has an enrollment that’s predominantly non-medical students, with less than 50% majoring in the sciences.
Loeser explained, “The course is open to anyone who has a curiosity about pain. We want interaction with the students, so we limit the class to twenty-five students a year. We have always had a full house. In fact, every year we have more students who want to take the course than we can accept. I think the course is popular because pain is an interesting topic.”
The class, which meets for three hours weekly, covers topics such as the opioid crisis, pain perception, the impact of pain on minority health, the social aspects of pain, and the portrayal of pain in literature. Students are expected to submit thought pieces each week and are required to read either “A Whole New Life” by Reynolds Price or “The Anatomy Lesson” by Phillip Roth. All students have to write a term paper as well.
“The student feedback is gratifying. We try very hard not to turn this into a clinical course,” noted Loeser. “We want to convey the social, political, economic, and historical perspective of pain, as well as its biology. Pain is not a well-taught subject in medical schools. Indeed, the opioid epidemic, in part, is the result of poor physician education. The class is a small step in the right direction in understanding how to deal with pain and how to deal with opioids.”
Dr. Loeser and co-instructor Jonathan Mayer, Ph.D., emeritus professor of epidemiology and geography at the University of Washington, indicated that they hope more universities will use their course as a jumping-off point for similar classes at schools across the country. Loeser urged, “I would encourage people involved in the management of pain to consider devoting some of their efforts to educating the public. A pain course is one way.”
RFA May Bring Relief for Those with Chronic Knee Pain
Knee surgery is one of the most common solutions for patients who suffer from ongoing, severe knee joint pain. However, about one-quarter of knee surgery patients end up with chronic, debilitating joint pain even after surgery. Alternatives tend to be either more surgery or short-term cortisone injections. However, at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, Cooled Radiofrequency Ablation (C-RFA) was outlined as a potential treatment.
According to a study at Emory University, C-RFA significantly reduces joint stiffness and pain for patients after knee surgery. The minimally invasive treatment can provide pain relief that lasts up to a year. A probe is inserted around the knee during the procedure, targeting specific nerves. The probe transmits a low-voltage radiofrequency electrical current to the nerves, interrupting the transmission of pain signals.
Dr. Felix Gonzalez, assistant professor in the Division of Musculoskeletal Imaging, Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences at Emory University, noted, “It’s very encouraging that up to a year out, these patients have significant pain relief and a better quality of life. The hope is that in that period of time, the patient can become more mobile and increase their activity. Even if the pain comes back, we predict that it won’t come back with the same intensity as before.”
Pain Facts: Knee pain is second only to back pain when it comes to chronic pain. One in four adults suffer from knee pain at any given time. According to the CDC, 4.8 million arthritis patients in the United States have trouble going up and downstairs, and 7.8 million have limitations when bending, stooping, or kneeling. Approximately 15% of men and 20% of women suffer from knee pain.
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