Feeds

Harvard boffins brew up chilli-based anaesthetic

Can you feel the burn? Er, no.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

American boffins reckon an anaesthetic based on chilli peppers could allow patients to undergo operations while fully conscious.

Sadly, the research doesn't mean that steaming curry or spicy kebab you wolf down after ten pints of lager will dull the inevitable headache the next day.

Rather, Harvard Medical School's Professor Bruce Bean (we all know beans and chillis go well together) and Clifford Woolf used capsaicin, the active ingredient in the fiery fruit pods, in combination with QX-314, a "normally inactive" ingredient of lidocaine.

Put really simply, QX-314 can't normally penetrate cells, making it pretty useless as an anaesthetic. However, the capsaicin opens a gate on pain-transmitting neurons, allowing the QX-314 to enter the cell and switch it off.

However, other neurons remain unaffected, side-stepping the side-effects of other anaesthetics, ranging from local paralysis to loss of consciousness.

The possibilities are intriguing. For example, an anaesthetic based on the new mix could mean you could get dental work done and walk out of the surgery without leaving a trail of spittle behind you. Woolf and Bean have even postulated that they could adapt their findings to produce a compound to deaden itches.

Woolf and Bean's research will go a long towards restoring the reputation of the chilli. On Monday, the pungent pods were in danger of being classed as a weapon of mass destruction, or certainly mass distraction, after London cops shut down Soho after the aroma of a Thai chef's chilli sauce was mistaken for a chemical attack. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Simon's says quantum computing will work
Boffins blast algorithm with half a dozen qubits
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.