Thursday, September 17, 2009
Pain cream can protect damage inheart attack
University of Cincinnati researchers have found that a common pain cream, if rubbed on the skin during a heart attack, may prevent or reduce damage to the heart while interventions are administered. Researcher Keith Jones says that when capsaicin was applied to specific skin locations in mice, sensory nerves in the skin were found to trigger signals in the nervous system. According to the researcher, these signals activate cellular “pro-survival” pathways in the heart, which protect the muscle. Capsaicin is the main component of chili peppers and produces a hot sensation. It is also the active ingredient in several topical medications used for temporary pain relief. The researchers said they observed an 85% reduction in cardiac cell death when capsaicin was used, and that a small incision made on the abdomen triggered an 81% reduction. They believe that skin has evolved to protect animals, including humans, in a variety of ways.