19 October 2010


LOVE AND PAIN. We've all been there -- the heartache which is a product of lost love, or abusive love, or neglectful love. Thousands of popular songs either praise love's delirium, or lament love's trauma. But what about love itself as a pain reliever? A recent study has found that "the areas of the brain activated by intense love are the same areas that drugs use to reduce pain ... When thinking about your beloved, there is intense activation of the reward center of the brain -- the same area that lights up when you take cocaine, the same area that lights up when you win a lot of money ... These are very deep, old centers of our brain that involve dopamine, a primary neurotransmitter that influences mood, reward and motivation."

The study's authors caution, "We intentionally focused on the early phase of passionate love. We specifically were not looking for longer-lasting, more mature phases of the relationship. We wanted subjects who were feeling euphoric, energetic, obsessively thinking about their beloved, craving their presence."

So for sufferers of chronic pain, perhaps there is a bit of hope, so long as you are responsibly single. No extramarital affairs need apply -- ultimately you'll just be creating more pain for everyone involved.

VIDEOS. Changing Education Paradigms is a brilliantly executed and entertaining animation which challenges our assumptions about how education works in the U.S., and how it ought to work. When did You Choose to Be Straight? also challenges assumptions, this time about our attitudes toward gay men and women. The question hits the target dead-center.

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