Sunday, February 26, 2012

Nursing a broken heart? How taking a paracetamol could dull the pain of rejection

I've heard of people taking aspirin to get to sleep but this is a surprise. The evidence they offer seems fairly good but a lot more exploration would seem needed

It's what songwriters have been saying for years, and now scientists agree – love really does hurt. But what the ballads don’t tell us is that a simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.

The rather prosaic cure emerged in a study by neuroscientists which found that emotional pain is processed in the same area of the brain as physical pain. They also discovered that hurt feelings – such as being dumped by a partner – can respond to painkillers.

In a three-week trial at the University of California, 62 people were told to take either Tylenol – the American name for paracetamol – or a placebo and then record how they felt every night.

The study found those who took 1,000mg of the painkiller, or around two tablets, showed a ‘significant reduction in hurt feelings’ compared to those taking the placebo.

Another test involved participants taking part in a computer game which was devised to make some of them feel rejected.

At the same time they had brain scans, which showed the pain of being socially rejected was processed in the same area of the brain as physical pain – in the anterior cingulate cortex.
noticed a correlation between brain activity in people who had experienced social rejection and others who had experienced physical pain.

The scientists saw a correlation in the brain activity of people who had experienced social rejection and physical pain. The test was then repeated, with some of the group on painkillers. This group had less pain-related activity in their brains than those on a placebo.

Dr Naomi Eisenberger, an assistant professor of social psychology, said: ‘Rejection is such a powerful experience for people. If you ask people to think back about some of their earliest negative experiences, they will often be about rejection, about being picked last for a team or left out of some social group.

‘It follows in a logical way from the argument that the physical and social pain systems overlap, but it’s still kind of hard to imagine. We take the drug for physical pain; it’s not supposed to work on social pain.’

While the findings could help develop treatment for bereavement, for example, Dr Eisenberger said we should not start taking painkillers after a traumatic experience. Emotional pain is probably a healthy response which tells us not to repeat the behaviour, she said, and dulling it could impair recovery.


A natural recovery from spinal injury!

A teenager who feared she would never walk again, is now preparing for a ballet exam after her spine miraculously healed itself.

Megan Kershaw, 14, was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer in 2008, which caused her to collapse at school. During a nine-hour operation to remove three-quarters of the tumour, doctors discovered the cancer had spread to her spine, causing spinal fractures, and for years she was confined to a wheelchair.

It was during treatment that Professor Nick Bishop from Sheffield Children’s Hospital suggested they should try and let the spine heal naturally. Now Megan's back is fully healed and doctors have been amazed by her speedy recovery.

Professor Nick Bishop said: 'The speed of recovery is fantastic and just shows how well children’s bones can recover in this kind of situation. 'Her spine is healing itself without any special treatment from us. The spine’s building blocks, the vertebrae, have growth plates on their upper and lower surfaces. “It is these growth plates that have restored Megan’s vertebral architecture in such an exemplary fashion. 'Megan no longer needs to see me now her spine has healed.'

Her mother Deborah, 48, from Misson, near Doncaster said: 'She is a miracle. It is incredible what has happened and what the body can do. 'She’s back to being a normal healthy child and can do all the things her friends do. 'She has shown tremendous courage through everything and she’s back to her dancing which has helped her very much.'

Megan still needs regular check-ups and is having a scan at the end of March to check on her progress.

The youngster previously hit headlines when Simon Cowell paid for her to go on a trip to Disneyland in Florida for her 13th Birthday. He stepped in when he heard she had made a 'wish board' that included meeting him, Girls Aloud and the dream trip to Disney.

Megan is now preparing for a Royal Academy of Dance ballet exam next month.


1 comment:

Charlie Currie said...

N=1. Yawn.

I lost and stabilized my weight to what it was when I was 25, improved my sleep, stopped my gums from bleeding, cured my GERD (acid reflux) by substituting butter, coconut oil, fish oil and steak for sugar and wheat (and all other bird food). What, is that crickets I hear, chirp, chirp, chirp.