New York Times: Love as Pain Relief

November 5th, 2010

Can love heal all?  Well, researchers at Stanford University have found that love does have the power to decrease pain.  They conducted a series of tests on 15 college students who professed to being deeply in love.  Subjects were placed in brain scanners that tracked their response to a heated probe placed in the palm of their hand.  Brain scans were taken under three different scenarios: one, looking a a picture of an acquaintance, two, looking at a picture of their loved one, and three, looking at no picture at all.  Based on data, researchers concluded that looking at a picture of a loved one reduced feelings of moderate pain by 40% and reduced feelings of severe pain by 10%.  In addition, they concluded that love-induced analgesia was associated with the brain’s reward centers while relief from resulting distraction (ie. looking at a picture) occurred mostly along the cognitive pathways.

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Categorized: In the Media, Research