Investigating The Brain's Inner Pharmacy | WYPR

Investigating The Brain's Inner Pharmacy

Jul 7, 2020

Dr. Luana Colloca (R) in her lab with a patient at University of Maryland School of Nursing. Colloca researches the effects of virtual reality on chronic pain management.
Credit Lydia Thompson (21st Century Fox) for National Geographic

Powerful painkillers can often dispatch acute pain, but using them for chronic, persistent pain carries the risk of addiction. Nearly two million Americans have a substance abuse disorder stemming from prescribed opioids. So scientists are researching ways to treat pain without drugs. We talk with journalist Yudhijit Bhattacharjee who wrote about them in National Geographic in "Scientists are Unraveling the Mysteries of Pain." And we talk with University of Maryland neurobiologist Dr. Luana Colloca featured in the article. She describes her research using virtual reality to manage chronic pain and her discoveries with the use of placebos. For more information on the National Geographic article, visit this link. For more information on Dr. Luana Colloca's research at the University of Maryland, visit this link.