Millions of people around the world live in chronic pain that severely affects the quality of life. In fact, statistics show that chronic pain tends to affect much more people than diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease, and cancer combined. Chronic pain is also known to highly increase the risk of suicide. However, even though there has been immense progress in medical technology in recent years, there is still no objective diagnostic tool that is capable of measuring the level of pain a patient feels. In latest developments, though, researchers have now presented a medical test that detects certain biomarkers for pain. Considered to be a breakthrough for diagnosing patients suffering from chronic pain, the test that detects certain color biomarkers is being seen as revolutionary for the medical industry. Let us take a look at how detecting pain through biomarkers is soon to become a reality.
What are Biomarkers?
Biomarkers, or biological markers, are known as the biological measure of a certain biological state. They are a subcategory of medical signs that may be observed from the outside itself, measured accurately and reproducibly. These markers are indicators of how normal biological/pathogenic/or even pharmacological processes should be or how these responses should look like to any therapeutic intervention. Biomarkers are important as they are often used for performing a clinical diagnosis or assessment of factors such as cholesterol level or blood pressure level. Biomarkers are also used for monitoring and predicting health conditions not just in individuals, but also across populations.
How Can Biomarkers Detect Pain?
Researchers have come up with a new biomarker test that is looking to identify chronic pain with the use of color biomarkers. It is expected that this biomarker test will revolutionize the diagnosis of people who are living with and suffering from chronic pain. It is likely to revolutionize the treatment for chronic pain as well. The test has been called PainHS and it uses tools of light measurement to identify the unique molecular structures of ‘pain’ within the blood cells. This light measurement tool is known as hyperspectral imaging analysis. Once approved, PainHS will become the first test in the world to correctly identify and find the biomarkers for pain.
The biomarker test works by attempting to quantify the ‘color’ of pain. According to the researchers of the study, this test makes it possible to “use the natural color of biology to predict the severity of pain.” The study’s results found that chronic pain has a unique natural color within the immune cells as compared to cells or situations where there is no chronic pain present. Experts around the world are hoping that this pain-detecting biomarker test will be a cost-effective and quick way of determining not just chronic pain, but also the severity of pain, even in patients with cancer pain, fibromyalgia, migraine, and lower back pain as well.
However, there is still some time before this biomarker test will get rolled out for patients around the world as research is still ongoing and in its early stages only.
This revolutionary new blood test is going to provide new insight to doctors for treating patients who are nonverbal, particularly babies, people suffering from dementia, or even people who are in intensive care and are unresponsive. Apart from helping people who can communicate about their pain, the main advantage of this biomarker test will be seen in people who are unable to communicate their pain. Furthermore, at present, it is not possible for doctors to determine the severity of a patient’s pain and assessment has to rely solely on the patient’s own report. The PainHS test will make it easier for doctors to determine the exact severity of the pain as well as the exact location from where the pain is stemming from.
Researchers and doctors worldwide remain extremely hopeful that this new research and a new test will pave the way forward for introducing novel methods for pain assessment and for better drug development to fight chronic pain.