Red Ice News

The Future is the Past

Sticks and stones: Brain releases natural painkillers during social rejection
New to Red Ice? Start Here!

Sticks and stones: Brain releases natural painkillers during social rejection

Source: scienceblog.com
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” goes the playground rhyme that’s supposed to help children endure taunts from classmates. But a new study suggests that there’s more going on inside our brains when someone snubs us – and that the brain may have its own way of easing social pain.

The findings, recently published in Molecular Psychiatry by a University of Michigan Medical School team, show that the brain’s natural painkiller system responds to social rejection – not just physical injury.

What’s more, people who score high on a personality trait called resilience – the ability to adjust to environmental change – had the highest amount of natural painkiller activation.

The team, based at U-M’s Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute, used an innovative approach to make its findings. They combined advanced brain scanning that can track chemical release in the brain with a model of social rejection based on online dating. The work was funded by the U-M Depression Center, the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the Phil F Jenkins Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health.

They focused on the mu-opioid receptor system in the brain – the same system that the team has studied for years in relation to response to physical pain. Over more than a decade, U-M work has shown that when a person feels physical pain, their brains release chemicals called opioids into the space between neurons, dampening pain signals.

David T. Hsu, Ph.D., the lead author of the new paper, says the new research on social rejection grew out of recent studies by others, which suggests that the brain pathways that are activated during physical pain and social pain are similar.

“This is the first study to peer into the human brain to show that the opioid system is activated during social rejection,” says Hsu, a research assistant professor of psychiatry. “In general, opioids have been known to be released during social distress and isolation in animals, but where this occurs in the human brain has not been shown until now.”

The study involved 18 adults who were asked to view photos and fictitious personal profiles of hundreds of other adults. Each selected some who they might be most interested in romantically – a setup similar to online dating.

But then, when the participants were lying in a brain imaging machine called a PET scanner, they were informed that the individuals they found attractive and interesting were not interested in them.

Brain scans made during these moments showed opioid release, measured by looking at the availability of mu-opioid receptors on brain cells. The effect was largest in the brain regions called the ventral striatum, amygdala, midline thalamus, and periaqueductal gray – areas that are also known to be involved in physical pain.

[...]

Read the full article at: scienceblog.com

Comments

We're Hiring

We are looking for a professional video editor, animator and graphics expert that can join us full time to work on our video productions.

Apply

Help Out

Sign up for a membership to support Red Ice. If you want to help advance our efforts further, please:

Donate

Tips

Send us a news tip or a
Guest suggestion

Send Tip

Related News

Monkey 'brain net' raises prospect of human brain-to-brain connection
Monkey 'brain net' raises prospect of human brain-to-brain connection
The Social Scientific Dictatorship: The Role of the Social Sciences in the Mechanization of Mankind
The Social Scientific Dictatorship: The Role of the Social Sciences in the Mechanization of Mankind

Archives Pick

Red Ice T-Shirts

Red Ice Radio

3Fourteen

How Right Wing Is Japan Today?
Yoko Mada - How Right Wing Is Japan Today?
European Cooking & Philosophy
Elisabeth - European Cooking & Philosophy

TV

What’s Really Happening in Saudi Arabia?
Patrick Le Brun - What’s Really Happening in Saudi Arabia?
Weekend Warrior Ep48 - The Problem of White Males Realizing They Have No Future
Weekend Warrior Ep48 - The Problem of White Males Realizing They Have No Future

RSSYoutubeGoogle+iTunesSoundCloudStitcherTuneIn

Design by Henrik Palmgren © Red Ice Privacy Policy