Chronic Pain: Magnets Reduce Neuronal Pain Signals
The hydrogel us is fillled with hyaluronic acid, which is a molecule capable of retaining water. It helps moisturize skin and slows down skin aging. Additionally, hyaluronic acid is found between the cells in the brain and in the spinal cord.
Next, together with this hyaluronic hydrogel, the scientists added small magnetic particles. Lastly, they grew a type of brain cell — called a dorsal root ganglion neurons, inside the gel.
The researchers then applied magnetic force onto the particles, which enabled the transmission of the magnetic field through the hydrogel and to the neural cells. By measuring the calcium ions in the neurons, the scientists were able to tell whether the cells responded to the magnetic pull, and they did.
Currently, mainstream medicine uses drugs to make chemical and molecular changes inside the body to treat disease. However, successfully employing magnetic force fields to treat chronic pain, opens a vista the UCLA team calls “mechanoceuticals”. This is using physical force to activate therapeutic changes inside the cells.