"This is beginning to open a new wedge into brain science," Ropper said. "There may be completely novel ways of treating pain by focusing on these areas of the brain rather than on conventional medications which block pain impulses from getting into the spinal cord and brain."
Shurtleff, of the federal drug abuse agency, also said he hoped the research would lead to newer drugs.
"We want medications that can reduce this signature and don't show a signature for addiction," he said.
Marilynn Marchione can be followed at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP
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