MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Researchers found that patients reported a lower level of pain in their hands when they crossed their hands in front of them, according to a small study from University College London.
The researchers suggest that crossing the hands disrupts sensory perception of pain because the hands are on the "wrong" sides, confusing the brain.
In a study of 20 people, researchers used lasers to create a tiny prick on participants hands without touching them. Each of the patients was asked to rank the level of pain they felt, and brain scans recorded electrical responses to the pain.
The results showed lower reported perception of pain as well as reduced pain-response activity in the brain, the BBC reports. The discovery could lead to new ways of treating pain, Dr. Giandomenico Iannetti of the UCL department of physiology, pharmacology and neuroscience told the BBC.
In everyday life, the right hand generally interacts with the right side of the world and the left hand interacts with the left side of the world, so regions of the brain for right-side movement and right-side spatial perception are activated together, Iannetti told the BBC.
"When you cross your arms these maps are not activated together anymore, leading to less effective brain processing of sensory stimuli, including pain, being perceived as weaker," he said.
Iannetti’s team plans to partner with Australian researchers to test the theory on patients with chronic pain conditions.
From the moon to the mind: A new Kennedy vision
The Kennedy legacy may move from from outer space to inner space with former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy’s (D-R.I.) support for the One Mind for Research Scientific Forum.
The meeting aims to generate a 10-year plan to galvanize research toward cures and treatments for brain diseases, and forum co-chairman Kennedy’s top priority is veteran brain health, USA Today reports.
The forum launches on the eve of the 50th anniversary of President John Kennedy’s famous challenge to send a man to the moon. Rep. Kennedy drew from his famous uncle’s spirit, declaring brain research a "moon shot into the mind," USA Today reports.
Vice president Joseph Biden, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and actor and health advocate Martin Sheen are all expected to attend, according to USA Today.
New jobs for the European Union: The medical device industry leads the way
The ZRG Partners Global Life Science Hiring Index, a measure of supply and demand in the job market, posted a 14.5 percent increase in new hiring opportunities worldwide.
Medical devices and diagnostics showed a "sizzling" 33 percent increase, according to a release.
“It appears hiring for global life science firms is back in overdrive, driven by Medical Devices and Europe," said Larry Hartmann, managing partner of ZRG, in the release.
Research and development worldwide grew by 37 percent, and manufacturing jumped 25 percent, with a majority of new positions arising in medical devices and diagnostics, according to ZRG.
The only industry that did not see growth was outsourcing and services, where hiring decreased by 7.8 percent.
Social networking for health care professionals and industry reps
Covidien plc (NYSE:COV) announced the launch of "Conscientious Collaboration," an online resource intended to promote ethical and meaningful collaboration between health care workers and the medical and pharmaceutical industries.
Covidien president & CEO Joe Almeida will be a keynote attendee at the first MassDevice Big 100 Regional Roundtable July 11 in Waltham, Mass.
McCarty to FDA: Check your panelists, please
After five years following medical device advisory committees, Medical Device Daily editor Mark McCarty had harsh words for some members of the FDA’s advisory panels.
Calling them "a demonstration of breathtaking stupidity" and "mentally deranged" in a recent editorial, McCarty lambasted comments from panelists that he found to be inane. His beef is with rhetoric that discards the human factor, forgetting that patients are people with lives and families who may benefit from last-resort treatments.
After a panelist in one FDA advisory panel invoked cost-benefit ratios in a discussion regarding patients with terminal cancer, McCarty had had enough.
"FDA should ask itself whether all the fruits of academic speculation are benign, and whether anyone compelled toward such exhibitionism should be advising the agency in any capacity," McCarty wrote. "The thought that someone possessed of that kind of selfish, impulsive stupidity has FDA’s ear is nothing short of terrifying. It should be grounds for dismissal."