09 marzo 2015

Midiendo la intensidad del dolor en la ínsula posterior dorsal

Un nuevo estudio en la revista Nature Neuroscience ha identificado que la intensidad del dolor que experimenta una persona está directamente relacionada a la actividad en una región del cerebro conocida como ínsula posterior dorsal. Investigadores de la Universidad de Oxford en el Reino Unido utilizaron resonancia magnética funcional mientras rastreaban la actividad cerebral de 17 voluntarios mientras aplican la crema que contiene capsaicina (la sustancia química que hace que los chiles picantes) a sus piernas, creando un dolor leve. Después de este dolor se calmó, los investigadores lo reavivaron mediante la aplicación de una bolsa de agua caliente. Luego, ellos calmaban la zona con una botella de agua fresca. Esto dio lugar a la fluctuación de los niveles de dolor. La actividad que se observó en la ínsula posterior dorsal de los voluntarios estaba directamente relacionada con la intensidad con que una persona informó el dolor en un momento determinado. Los científicos esperan enfocarse en esta región al estudiar individuos que sufren dolor intratable de largo plazo, con la esperanza de proporcionar algún tipo de alivio.
Más información en: bit.ly/1C2MsJM
The dorsal posterior insula subserves a fundamental role in human pain. 
Nature Neuroscience, 2015. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3969
Image credit: Anna Tanczos, Wellcome Images

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