Pleasure And Pain: Study Shows Brain's 'Pleasure Chemical' Is Involved In Response To Pain
For years, the brain chemical dopamine has been thought of as the brain's "pleasure chemical," sending signals between brain cells in a way that rewards a person or animal for one activity or another. More recently, research has shown that certain drugs like cocaine and heroin amplify this effect - an action that may lie at the heart of drug addiction.
Now, a new study from the University of Michigan adds a new twist to dopamine's fun-loving reputation: pain.
Using sophisticated brain-scanning and a carefully controlled way of inducing muscle pain, the researchers show that the brain's dopamine system is highly active while someone experiences pain - and that this response varies between individuals in a way that relates directly to how the pain makes them feel. It is