News of the WeekNeuroscience

Early Insult Rewires Pain Circuits

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Science  28 Jul 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5479, pp. 521-522
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5479.521a

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On page 628, neuroscientists report that painful stimuli delivered to rats shortly after birth permanently rewire the spinal cord circuits that respond to pain. Not only do the circuits contain more axons, but the axons extend to more areas of the spinal cord than they normally would. The results should help convince skeptics of the importance of managing pain in human infants.