Friday, December 25, 2009

Hurt feelings? Pop a Tylenol!

Getting the snub from friends can feel like a slap in the face. Now researchers say treating such social pain may be as easy as popping a pain pill. ...

The finding builds on research showing that psychological blows not only feel like they hurt us, they actually do. For instance, scientists have found a gene linked with both physical pain and a person's sensitivity to rejection. And some of the same brain regions are linked with both pain types. ...

In one experiment, 62 healthy volunteers took 1,000 mg daily of either acetaminophen or a placebo. (Extra strength Tylenol contains about 500 mg of acetaminophen in each tablet.)

Each evening participants answered questions on the so-called Hurt Feelings Scale, which measures social pain caused by, say, teasing. Hurt feelings and social pain decreased over time in those taking acetaminophen, while no change was observed in subjects taking the placebo.

Participants' happiness levels didn't change much over the course of the study for either group.

Then, the team had 25 healthy volunteers take either 2,000 mg of acetaminophen or a placebo. After three weeks of taking the pills, subjects played a computer game rigged to create feelings of social rejection. Their brains were scanned with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during the game-playing.

When experiencing rejection, participants taking the pain meds showed less activity, compared with the placebo group, in brain regions linked to both the distress of social pain and some components of physical pain.
--LiveScience.com on emotional toughness in a pill. I wonder if this means that redheads are on average more emotionally sensitive

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