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Body’s Natural Painkillers Can Block Phobias

Magnetic resonance image showing a median sagittal cross section through a human head.

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Human body’s own pain-relief system has the ability to block phobias, claims a new study which is likely to soon throw light on the neural mechanisms behind anxiety and stress.

A international team, led by researchers at the University Medical Centre of Hamburg-Eppendorf, has found that the way humans are conditioned by fearful stimuli is to some extent damped down by the body’s own pain-relief system.

For their study, the researchers recruited 30 male volunteers who were asked to watch green triangles and blue pentagons on a screen inside an MRI scanner. One symbol was followed half the time by a moderately painful application of heat to the forearm; the other was never followed by pain.

Half the volunteers were infused with a drug that blocks the effects of opioids, while the others got saline solution as a control. The brain scans showed that in people whose opioid systems had been blocked, the amygdala showed a fear response that did not diminish with exposure. Every time they saw the symbol associated with pain, their amygdalas reacted strongly.

In the control group, however, the activation decreased over the course of the experiment. As the group receiving the drug was reacting fearfully, the researchers speculate, they were learning the association intensively.

At the beginning of each trial, volunteers had to perform a reaction time task – pressing a button to indicate on which half of the screen the symbol had appeared. Overall, the subjects reacted more quickly to the cue signalling pain than the cue signalling nothing – but the opioid-free subjects reacted significantly faster.

The team speculates that opioid deficiency could be a contributing factor to anxiety disorders and exaggerated fear responses.

Sources:The Times Of India

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Pediatric

Ibuprofen: An Injured Child’s Best Friend

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When a child is hurt, parents want to do anything to ease his pain. But often they don’t know what the best course of action is, or what type of pain medication will work best. Of three well-known analgesics, acetaminophen, ibuprofen and codeine, which one, if any, is best for children?

Ibuprofen found in over-the-counter Advil and Motrin was more effective than other two competitors in relieving children’s pain from musculoskeletal injuries to extremities, the neck, and the back, a new Canadian study published in the March Issue of the journal Pediatrics.

The researchers came to the conclusion after they compared ibuprofen with acetaminophen – an active ingredient found in Tylenol and codeine at an equivalent OTC dose in children admitted into an emergency department.

“No one had done comparison studies on the pain medications we use [on children] shift after shift,” Dr. Eric Clark, the lead author and an emergency medicine doctor at the University of Ottawa School of Medicine was quoted as saying by healthday.com

Clark said some doctors have actually used ibuprofen more frequently than other two painkillers, but this study justified such a preference.

In the study, researchers randomly assigned 15 mg/kg acetaminophen, 10 mg/kg ibuprofen, or 1 mg/kg codeine to 330 children aged 6 to 17 admitted to the emergency department of the Children’s Hospital department of Eastern Ontario with pain from a musculoskeletal injury that occurred 48 hours before admission into the hospital.

Children’s pain at the time of admission and at 60 minutes after treatment was evaluated on a pain scale ranging from 1 to 100 and then compared. 300 children were randomly selected for an analysis.

The researchers found that children in the ibuprofen group had a significantly greater improvement in pain score (pain score decreased by 24 mm) than those in the codeine (11mm) and acetaminophen (12mm).

Additionally at 60 minutes, more children receiving ibuprofen achieved adequate analgesia as defined by a visual analog scale less than 30 mm than other two groups.

There was no significant difference between acetaminophen and codeine in change in pain score at any time or in the number of children experiencing adequate analgesia.

Click for Dose of ibuprofen in chieldren and what parents need to know about ibuprofen

Source:www.kidsgrowth.com