Vigilant squids give clues to the purpose of pain

Though many of us have experienced a lasting sense of pain or anxiety after experiencing a painful injury, our instinctive desire to proceed defensively is often met with a well-meaning “calm down” or “stop acting so paranoid.”  However, new research suggests that there may be a very good reason for that heightened sensitivity.  In a […]

Crimea's recovering addicts face a painful future

Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea has resulted in much turmoil, but perhaps none of the effects are felt quite so painfully as the new fate of those Crimeans who rely upon methadone therapy to recover from substance abuse.  In an effort to reduce illicit drug use and HIV prevalence, Ukraine supports methadone therapy.  Russia, on […]

Computers see through faked expressions of pain better than people

In a recent study comparing real and fake expressions of pain, a computer system was able to pinpoint the faked expressions significantly more often than human test subjects.  According to the study, recently published in the latest issue of Current Biology, the computer system was able to detect distinctive dynamic features of facial expressions that […]

The pain of exclusion

Sticks and stones may break bones, but words–or the lack thereof–can cause just as much pain.  According to a recently published study, the distress caused by social stimuli, such as arguing with a friend or be excluded from a game, activates brain circuits related to physical pain in the posterior insular cortex.  When study participants […]

What’s in a word? ‘Anesthesia’ from ancient Greece to 1846, and beyond

Have you ever thought about the origin of that word you say so often, “anesthesia”? Like many English words, this one has a long and complicated history. The word was apparently coined between the 10th and fifth centuries BCE. Ancient Greek and Latin authors used it widely and with various definitions. Some authors used the […]