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Smart chip implant the size of a match head will combat chronic pain by blocking spine signals
By CLAIRE BATES Last updated at 8:32 AM on 31st December 2010

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Scientists have developed a revolutionary new smart chip that when implanted in the spinal cord blocks pain signals preventing them from reaching the brain. The tiny device works by monitoring the nerves carrying pain signals and firing electrical pulses of up to 10 volts that block the undesirable signals from reaching the brain.

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The tiny implant is placed next to the spine and emits electronic pulses to block pain signals reaching the brain The Implantable Neuro Sensing and Stimulation or INS2, was developed between 2008 and 2010 by National ICT Australia (NICTA) in Sydney. It will undergo human trials from the start of next year. Existing pain-relief implants are the size of a matchbox. Researchers said their miniature version would be far more effective and reliable because it can be implanted much closer to the spine. The tiny new implant consists of two smart chips built into a device that is sewn into a material container with integrated electronic wires. The device is implanted on the target nerve such as the spinal cord and is operated by an internal computer processor run by a battery the size of a SIM card. The device can be recharged wirelessly so there is no need for any external wires. The INS2 can be 'fine-tuned' to manage different levels of pain. Scientists at NICTAsaid the device may have numerous applications apart from treating chronic back pain and could be used to block pain caused by nerve damage

and migraines. It also has the potential to help control epileptic seizures and the tremors caused by Parkinsons disease. The company is funded by the federal government of Australia. New South Wales minister Eric Roozendaal said the device 'has the potential to deliver a revolution in the management of chronic pain.' NICTAis planning to form a new company in Sydney, Saluda Medical, to commercialize the implant.

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Here's what other readers have said. Why not debate this issue live on our message boards. The comments below have been moderated in advance. Oldest Best rated Worst rated View all

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For those with chronic back pain and not wanting to use numbing drugs this is a wonderful discovery.
- Robb Knie, California, US, 19/12/2010 19:56 Report abuse Click to rate Rating 6

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are they going to activate these chips and turn these people into mindless painless MK ultra manchurian candidate assassins?
- john with the long slide .45, lafayette, 19/12/2010 14:15 Report abuse Click to rate Rating (0)

I don't know.. I just had visions of people accidentally chopping off their own hands while using power tools.. Unaware it is happening due to not being able to feel the pain. Crazy!!
- Warrick, Banbury, 19/12/2010 06:16 Report abuse Click to rate Rating (0)

Pain is a necessary and esssential part of our physiology. Simply stopping the pain isn't going to truely help the vast majority of people, it's only masking symptoms of a serious underlying problem. Try correcting the problem and then the pain will disappear too. Finding out ways to regenerate things would be a much more worthwhile investment and help in a much wider array of problems. Hiding pain isn't a 'cure' for anything if you think about it...
- Nick, Bournemouth, 18/12/2010 12:54 Report abuse Click to rate Rating 3

I pray this will reach the US. This sounds like a answer to prayers. My sister has severe spinal stenosis and has been under pain management for 3 yrs which has given her a lot of relief; however, the steroid shots and radiofrequency ablation are no longer affective. I will be following this very closely. Thank you.
- Judy Redd, Augusta GA USA, 18/12/2010 02:46 Report abuse Click to rate Rating 4

OOH..how I would love to be able to try this..my pain is near unbearable at times.. due to Rheumatoid, and a fractured T-10 area..Pain Dr's are of no help.. Have not been on any med that touches my pain, not even a narcotic..so where can a person go for help ? wish there was an answer..Hope it becomes available in the US
- Gloria, US, 17/12/2010 23:37 Report abuse Click to rate Rating 2

This is quite intriging have just had SCS removed after 11 yrs in my body old one. This kinda scares me but I would like to get more info.....what is it made of? I am

youthful allergic to nickel etc. can I have am MRI? Is it in and out surgery? Have very low resisitance, get staph always...also I am disabled will Omap+ pay ? Will check further.
- TRISH, Florence, USA, 17/12/2010 21:08 Report abuse Click to rate Rating (0)

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For someone whose suffered chronic back pain for a long time despite various medication including daily intake of morphine, this sounds like the answer to a prayer. But what next? Where do I go to get further information? Who do I talk to to get one of these inserted? Please don't just whet my appitite and disappear........
- Wilf Wood, Beraut France, 17/12/2010 17:15 Report abuse Click to rate Rating 1

This device sounds wonderful, of course trying to get medicare or private health insurance would be impossible. Even if this device becomes available, only the very rich will be able to benefit from it. The health care system in the United States is broken and until our congress quits fighting, people like me will continue to suffer. If our representatives in Washington had to deal with health insurance companies for their own care instead of the amazing insurance they receive as a perk, things would be fixed quickly.
- Barbra Yockey, Trafalgar, Indiana, USA, 17/12/2010 14:45 Report abuse Click to rate Rating 12

if people went to see an osteopath who could sort out the actual problem then most of the time pain would never get so bad that they would need a chip inserted into their spine. - amy, leeds, I am happy for you Amy that you are not experiencing the extreme suffering that I am with the knowledge that "seeing an osteopath" would do nothing. I hope you are never faced with a condition that has no treatment or cureonly pain. Until that day perhaps you could understand we are all not as lucky as you & that unfortunately treatments like these are needed.
- Sarah, Iowa City, 17/12/2010 13:36 Report abuse Click to rate Rating 38

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