This medical video focus' on the use of electricity to treat chronic pain.
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Jennifer Matthews: Pain has taken center stage in Pauline Key's life the past couple of years. Pauline Key: It started showing up about two years ago and it's gotten worse. Jennifer Matthews: Her husband, Richard, has watched as his wife's quality of life has deteriorated. Richard Key: The twenty-four hours, all the time, just chronic pain all the time. At times, I'd like to trade her and if I could just take the pain away from her. Jennifer Matthews: Radiation for breast cancer more than 10 years ago destroyed the nerves in Pauline's arm. She was left severe chronic pain. After other treatments failed, Gary Heit tried electrical stimulation in her brain to help her. Dr. Gary Heit: I think it opens up a range of relatively non-invasive therapy to a pool of chronic pain patients who, to this point, really have no other options. Jennifer Matthews: A device is implanted over the motor cortex of the brain and a current stimulates the area that controls movement. By stimulating that area, pain is alleviated. Dr. Gary Heit: You don't feel a thing and so we think it's just this very subtle backwards activation of the sensory system that somehow confuses it and the pain just disappears. Jennifer Matthews: Pauline had the device implanted and though it's still early, it seems to be working. Pauline Key: If I had the pain permanently that I have right now, I would be happy with it. Richard Key: This is the first time in a couple of years I've been able to this. It's just a miracle. Jennifer Matthews: This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.