As soon as the award ceremony was announced, criticism rained down. Why after the most important discovery of the century, the COVID-19 vaccine, none of its promoters won the Nobel Prize in Medicine?
The answer is more than clear: the discovery of scientists David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian transcends the virus that changed life as we knew it, for his discoveries about the receptors of temperature and touch are the prelude to a life without pain.
If you have wondered how your research can benefit people, the academic from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Noel Isaías Plascencia Álvarez, explains that before we had no idea of the structures that participated in the perception of pain, but in the late 90s it was established that the receptors have to do with activation through capsain (obtained from chili, among other products), It activates these receptors and elicits a pain response.
The receptors serve for saliva secretion, inflammation, and cardiovascular regulation.
Pain is perceived in tissues, joints and skin, it is transmitted through the spinal cord to special areas of the brain where all the information is integrated and emits a response to that pain, explained the academic from the Division of Postgraduate Studies in the area of Neurology. of the UNAM.
“Why is this important? Well, simply, if we can block that here, when the information reaches these receptors, that information will not go up, therefore we will block the painful perception. And where is this important? For example, the issues that have diabetic neuropathy with pain, a pain that is sometimes very difficult to treat, that does not go away, is called neuropathic pain. There it acquires a fundamental importance ”.
So, by better identifying pain, it is possible to produce drugs to block it.
For instanceThere are diabetic patients who have pain very early, as if something burned the flat of their feet. Sometimes they can also feel it in their hands without there being an injury, but the pain relievers that we have at hand do not work.
In addition, there are drugs against pain, but that act on receptors of this type there is no commercial one that we can buy.
Hence the importance of research because the basic principle of medicine is to try to remove the suffering of people because there are those who commit suicide because they have pain, so the expectation is very high so that it can act on the receptors to prevent the person from perceiving the pain.
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The Nobel Prize in Medicine is the prelude to ending pain