science

When scientist Michael Smith was stung by a wayward bee that managed to fly up his shorts and sting him on the scrotum, he subsequently had a painful yet Eureka moment – why not explore how pain affects humans?

With this though in mind, inspire of the pain of being stung by a bee, he went ahead and forced these insects to sting him all over his body for over five weeks.

Michael, a postgraduate at Cornell University in New York, has had previous conversations with colleagues in the past in terms of body pain and where it would hurt the most. Incidentally, Michael is currently studying bee behavior and that even before, he has speculated on whether it would hurt as much to be stung in the testicles. He got his answer when by chance, he did get stung in his scrotum and his speculation was answered – that it didn’t really hurt as much as he thought it would.

And with this new revelation, he went ahead and made himself a test subject in order to understand more the human body’s pain barrier. Being a former bee-keeping student at United World College of the Atlantic near Cardiff, Michael knew how to handle bees properly. He took agitated bees in forceps and applied them to 25 different areas of his body, letting them sting each part at least three times, rating each body part pain from zero to ten.

After he went through a “stinging” episode in the name of science, Michael revealed a rather surprising fact: It is more painful to be stung in the nose compared to being stung on the penis.

He further explains that there is no crossing of wires of pleasure and pain when stung on the penis, it is definitely painful. But getting stung on the nose is a whole painful body experience as you end up sneezing and wheezing with snot dribbling out. Getting stung on the nose makes your whole body react in an electric and pulsating way. He originally thought of having his eyes stung, but thought against it, afraid that he might lose his sense of sight.

His study results may not have long-term significance, but then the results are definitely unexpected and thought provoking, as published by scientific journal PeerJ.

As it turns out, even if a body part is sensitive to the touch, it does not entirely mean that it will be the worst part to feel pain at. Michael do admits that his testicles were the fourth worst body part to be stung with a pain rating of 7.0, but that it was also equally as painful as being stung in the palm and the cheek.

And even if he rated the pain on his penis as 7.3, slightly higher than that of his testicles, his pain rating for his nostril is a whopping 9.0 and his upper lip as 8.7. The least painful areas were his upper arms, middle toes and head with a pain rating of only 2.3.

Michael believes that the pain map he developed through his study can be that of significance when it comes to other types of hurt and injury. He believes that that it can be applicable for understanding other types of pain.

He later says that we actually have a poor understanding of pain and how we perceive it, as based on his studies, he notes that even if a certain part of the body seems sensitive to the touch it doesn’t entirely mean that it will also be as sensitive to pain.

Source: Mirror

A new study published by the Journal of Psychopharmacology revealed that an approximate one-third of patients who are referred to by researchers as having “treatment-resistant depression” experienced a significant mood improvement after they were treated with up to six intravenous ketamine infusions over the course of several weeks.

UK researchers at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Oxford conducted the study. On their news release of the study, it was mentioned that three days after the last infusion, the depression scores had halved in 29 percent of the patients and that in those that responded to the treatment, the duration of benefit varied widely, lasting between 25 days and 8 months.

In an interview with BBC, lead researcher Dr. Rupert McShane said that some of the patients involved in the study had lived with depression for 20 years. He further says that doing the study for these people makes it worth doing psychiatry.

There have been several studies in the past that banked on the same idea of ketamine as being an alternative to treating severe depression.

– In 2012, researchers over at Yale University announced that ketamine seemingly produces rapid antidepressant responses in patients who are resistant to typical antidepressants. Study Co-author Ron Duman tells NPR that they hope their research results will give a new array of new targets that can be worked on eventually to provide a much effective way of treating depression.

– In 2013, Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine and New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine both did their own studies and revealed similar results, which were later on published. Their studies revealed that 64 percent of patients who had been treated with ketamine seemingly showed fewer depression symptoms through time.

Although several studies has already proven that ketamine do have the ability to relieve depression for some, there are still quite a few health risks linked with the drug. One of these is the fact that since ketamine is commonly used as an anesthetic for both humans and animals, it does have hallucinogenic properties being a dissociative anesthetic, as mentioned by the US Drug Enforcement Administration. Some users also say that if taken in high doses, it can actually induce a somewhat terrifying out-of-body experience commonly referred to as a “K-hole.” Lastly, it is a medical fact that ketamine can cause anxiety, amnesia and cognitive difficulties.

Medical experts have always strictly warned against using ketamine as a medication when unsupervised. Even when used in clinical studies, ketamine is always administered in small doses and patients are always supervised closely.

A new study from the University of Chicago that analyzed the effects of sleep patterns on human behavior yielded some surprising results that say a lot about your romantic life.

The research show that male and female “night owls” (NOs), these are people who go to sleep late and wake up late, were likely to engage in more sex than those who are “early morning” (EM) persons, although they are also less likely to be in committed, long-term relationships.

According to the study author Dario Maestripieri in a press release, that there is a possibility that being active in the evening hours thus increased the opportunities to engage in social and mating activities, and this is when adults were less burdened by work or child-rearing. Furthermore, that this behavior may also have evolved from our ancestors.

More of the research results also show that female night owls seem to relate more closely to males in terms of behavior compared to early morning females. Also, they are most likely to be single, sexually promiscuous and were actually bigger risk takers. The reason behind this is that female NOs were discovered to have the same level of cortisol as that of men. Now cortisol has been known to have something to do with arousability, high energy, stress and cognitive function.

The study was done using data from over 500 graduate students, as Maestripieri is a professor in Comparative Human Development. The February edition of the Evolutionary Psychology published the results of his study.

Lastly, Maestripieri hopes that his study would help to enlighten people on why people do what they do. It can help to make them understand how their sleep behaviors are linked to specific behavioral and personality characteristics.

Source: The Huffington Post

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