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Is LOVE a painkiller drug?

posted 10/15/2010 4:48:38 PM |
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tagged: love, news, people, straddle

I saw this in the newspaper and thought that this was interesting to share. I also feel like there's a lot of truth to this with people.

LOS ANGELES - Sooner or later, love usually ends up hurting. But in its early, blissful throes, it actually lessens pain - at least of the physical kind. That's the finding, reported Wednesday, of a study by pain scientists and a psychologist who studies love.

The study, published online in the journal PLoS One, sprang from a meeting of minds between Arthur Aron of State University of New York at Stony Brook, a longtime researcher of the science of love, and Dr. Sean Mackey, a pain scientist at Stanford University.

"I'd had a couple glasses of zinfandel and was chatting about pain and the brain systems involved and he was chatting about love and the brain systems involved," Mackey said. "And we realized, you know, they could be influencing each other."

They put out a call on the Stanford campus for people who were in the first nine months of a relationship and still in the throes of romantic passion.

"It was clearly the easiest study we've ever recruited for - within hours, we had these students banging on our doors saying, 'We're in love! We're in love! Study us!" Mackey said.

Jarred Younger (then a Stanford graduate student) and the team tested 15 subjects. All were asked to bring in photos of their beloved and a comparably attractive person they knew. The researchers heated the palms of the subjects' left hands to a point that caused either a moderate or high degree of pain, at which point the subjects looked at a photo, either of their beloved or the attractive acquaintance.

In a third round of experiments, the researchers tested the effects of mere distraction, known to reduce pain, by having the subjects perform mental tasks (such as thinking of all sports that didn't involve a ball) while their palms were heated.

The photo of the beloved and mental distraction appeared to reduce pain by about the same amount: 36percent to 45 percent for moderate pain, and 12 percent to 13 percent for high pain. (The photo of a pretty peer had no effect.) Learning how to harness the power of a loved one could help relieve pain without drug-induced side effects - or perhaps help people quit smoking, the scientists suggested.

"Will I be going back to my patients and prescribing one passionate love affair every six months? I don't know if I'm going there," Mackey said. "But it tells us there's a lot more to the experience of pain than just the injury."

The Columbus Dispatch

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Oct 15 @ 10:42PM  
Well, I dunno about that...... There were times where I swore love was a real pain!


Oct 15 @ 10:52PM  
There were times where I swore love was a real pain!

Oct 16 @ 1:47AM  
it usually is.....for about a week.....

Oct 16 @ 6:06AM  
I don't put much stock into research limited to a study of 15 people.

Oct 16 @ 11:38AM  
I don't call it love... been around the block too many times.

But the intoxication or euphoria of a good infatuation.. there is nothing like it. Even knowing that it is not the "real" thing, even knowing that it is temporary, doesn't make it any less enjoyable..

Pain is just another sensation. A source of information about the world. Perhaps the euphoria simply helps us experience it as such..

Oct 16 @ 1:25PM  
But the intoxication or euphoria of a good infatuation..

or multi-orgasmic lust.

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Is LOVE a painkiller drug?