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Papers of the Week

1977 Jul 8




Classic Paper

Pain relief by electrical stimulation of the central gray matter in humans and its reversal by naloxone.


Hosobuchi Y, Adams JE, Linchitz R
Science. 1977 Jul 8; 197(4299):183-6.
PMID: 301658.


Relief of intractable pain was produced in six human patients by stimulation of electrodes permanently implanted in the periventricular and periaqueductal gray matter. The level of stimulation sufficient to induce pain relief seems not to alter the acute pain threshold. Indiscriminate repetitive stimulation produced tolerance to both stimulation-produced pain relief and the analgesic action of narcotic medication; this process could be reversed by abstinence from stimulation. Stimulation-produced relief of pain was reversed by naloxone in five out of six patients. These results suggest that satisfactory alleviation of persistent pain in humans may be obtained by electronic stimulation.