Insects Can Experience Chronic Pain, Research Found


According to many people across the world, the bugs and insects are immune to pain they experience after being hit. This process is not known to every person in the world as many people think that the bugs do not really feel any kind of pain or other sensation. However, new research has provided an answer to that. The University of Sydney research reveals that after being hit by a newspaper, paper or something else, the insects not only feel injury but also experience chronic pain after recovering from it.


The new discovery is an outgrowth of 2003 research by the same University in Australia which stated that insects experience the sensation of pain. Greg Neely, an associate professor, explains this process in a detailed manner. According to this prestigious personality, people are totally unaware of the fact that insects do feel any kind of pain or stimulus. They think that they are not able to sense heat, cold, pain or other sensation but they actually do so. The process of feeling pain in the non-humans is termed as ‘nocioception’. Through this process the insects such as bugs do really feel the pain sensation whenever they get hit by something.

Injured fruit flies still experience nerve pain after healing, a finding that could lead the way to more non-opioid pain medications.
Credit: Better Cure

Not only they feel it at the moment but also the feeling lasts for some time and many times it can become a chronic condition. This condition can cause an extreme level of hypersensitivity among them just like in the case of human beings and then the insects have to protect themselves for their whole lives.

Neely alongwith his coworkers studied about the procedure. He found out that the insects possess a ventral nerve cord as the humans are having spinal cord. The insect receives the pain messages and transfers to the ventral nerve cord via sensory neurons. In the nerve cord lies the inhibitory neurons that function to either allow or block the pain. The pain brakers are somehow lost and the system tends to function in a way to provide more protection to the body. When the pain brakers are lost it is a good sign so that insects can survive in serious and impregnable conditions. In humans this process is completely opposite.


The pain which is has been explained as above is referred as the neuropathic pain. The underlying cause of this pain has been studied and now researches are being made for the new stem cell therapies or drugs. In this way the underlying cause will be targeted and pain can be stopped for the good.

This study is published in Journal Science Advances


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