A blood test developed by Australian researchers called “painHS” can identify color changes in immune cells affected by pain. The blood test for chronic pain instantly informs doctors administering the test to the severity of their patient’s pain.
PainHS was developed by a team of researchers led by neuroscientists Professor Mark Hutchinson will present the findings at a meeting of the Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists. This is the same team that came up with the “painSEQ” and “painCELL” blood tests. While those tests were accurate, they take a couple of days to produce results. The “painHS” test is instantaneous, which is a huge advantage.
Professor Hutchinson explained it this way:
“We’ve now discovered that we can use the natural colour of biology to predict the severity of pain. What we’ve found is that persistent chronic pain has a different natural colour in immune cells than in a situation where there isn’t persistent pain.”
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The hope is that the test will lead to new and better treatments for people with chronic pain, and it will also be useful for patients who are unable to report their pain, such as babies or people with dementia who have lost the ability to speak. It can also revolutionize the treatment of animals. “Animals can’t tell us if they’re in pain but here we have a Dr Doolittle type test that enables us to ‘talk’ to the animals so we can find out if they are experiencing pain and then we can help them,” said Dr. Hutchinson.