Roundup

Pain and the Brain

  • Published3 Dec 2015
  • Reviewed3 Dec 2015
  • Author Juliet M. Beverly
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN
 Immunofluorescent labeling of a human cortical astrocyte with GFAP
The Body’s Pain Control System
Studies of the body’s own pain-control system demonstrated the existence of naturally occurring opioids — the endorphins.
http://www.jneurosci.org/content/28/13.cover-expansion
 Immunofluorescent labeling of a human cortical astrocyte with GFAP
Split comic-style graphic: First column shows a mother and daughter hugging. The second shows a man alramed at a bug on his arm, and the third image shows a woman baker burning her hand on a sheet of rolls.
Elliot Krane: How Do Nerves Work?
At any moment, there is an electrical storm coursing through your body. Discover how chemical reactions create an electric current that drives our responses to everything from hot pans to a mother’s caress.
Split comic-style graphic: First column shows a mother and daughter hugging. The second shows a man alramed at a bug on his arm, and the third image shows a woman baker burning her hand on a sheet of rolls.
Diagram of pain receptors
Touch and Pain
Touch is the sense by which we determine the characteristics of objects: size, shape, and texture.
Illustration by Lydia V. Kibiuk, Baltimore, MD; Devon Stuart, Harrisburg, PA
Diagram of pain receptors
Human temporal lobe cortex immunolabeled for astrocytes (GFAP; yellow), neurons (MAP2; blue), and nuclei (DAPI; green) shows protoplasmic astrocytes and a varicose projection astrocyte, a novel glial type.
Sending and Receiving Pain and Messages
Processing information from the sensory systems is one of many functions of the brain. Such information is often the first step in other brain activities, including learning and retaining knowledge.
http://www.jneurosci.org/content/29/10.cover-expansion
Human temporal lobe cortex immunolabeled for astrocytes (GFAP; yellow), neurons (MAP2; blue), and nuclei (DAPI; green) shows protoplasmic astrocytes and a varicose projection astrocyte, a novel glial type.
Image illustrating four different sensations; static/electrical shock, scratch, burn, crawling.
Karen D. Davis: How Does Your Brain Respond to Pain?
Everyone experiences pain — but why do some people react to the same painful stimulus in different ways? And what exactly is pain, anyway?
Image illustrating four different sensations; static/electrical shock, scratch, burn, crawling.
Squid tested for reactions to pain.
Image of the Week: How Big Brains Handle Pain
Brainy mollusks are enhancing our understanding of injury in the animal kingdom.
Crook, et al. Journal of Neuroscience, 2013.
Squid tested for reactions to pain.
Diagram of how painkillers work
Treating Pain
Medical science offers us a number of different ways to dull or treat pain.
Illustration by Lydia V. Kibiuk, Baltimore, MD
Diagram of how painkillers work
Cross-section of spinal cord
A Dose of Music for Pain Relief
A growing understanding of how music alters the experience of pain has led to the incorporation of musical therapy into pain rehabilitation programs.
Simon Beggs, Wellcome Trust
Cross-section of spinal cord

Pain -- from a minor sting to a major break -- is bound to happen, and your physical reactions to unpleasant stimuli depends on the brain and nervous system. But how does pain register in the brain, and what can that teach us about future treatments? To find out more, browse through the images and their descriptions and click on the link in each caption to read the full articles.

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