The Pain Brain – Millions of Americans are living with chronic pain. A quiet revolution in research and treatment is finding new ways to help them heal.
By Erik Vance and others…
Even before the pandemic, about one in five Americans suffered from chronic pain.
After a year and a half filled with anxiety, grief and often sedentary behavior, that number has only increased. It is, of course, impossible to talk about chronic pain (typically defined as pain lasting longer than six months) in America without confronting another pandemic: opioid addiction.
With so few pain treatments available, many patients see their only options as continued anguish or risking a new, different sickness. In 2020 more than 93,000 people died from drug overdose, with about 70 percent caused by opioids. And opioids don’t always address the pain; only one in four chronic pain patients find enduring relief from painkillers.
Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…
It’s something that many of us reckon with: the sense that we’re not quite as sharp as we once were.
I recently turned 42. Having lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s, and with my mom suffering from a similar neurodegenerative disease, I’m very aware of what pathologies might lurk beneath my cranium.
In the absence of a cure for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, the most important interventions for upholding brain function are preventive — those that help maintain our most marvelous, mysterious organ.
Based on the science, I take fish oil and broil salmon. I exercise. I try to challenge my cortex to the unfamiliar. As I wrote my recent book, A History of the Human Brain, which recounts the evolutionary tale of how our brain got here, I began to realize that so many of the same influences that shaped our brain evolution in the first place reflect the very measures we use to preserve our cognitive function today.