Does smoking hurt as well as harm? (or, as if you needed another reason)

I have a couple of mates who are veritable smoke-stacks. They love smoking but sort of hate being a smoker. I must confess that, at least within my community, smoking is now officially uncool and my mates are sick of people telling them good reasons to give up.  Well, as if they needed another reason, here is evidence that smoking hurts.  This is a … [Read more...]

Starting conversations – has Jason hit the Silvernail on the head?

We had a BiM team meeting on Tuesday, as we do every Tuesday.  We got talking about the BiM blog - revisiting our objectives and how best to meet them. A key objective is to facilitate dissemination AND conversation. Well we have been well and truly trumped on that front by Jason Silvertail and his post for  Jason has taken a 'no … [Read more...]

With The Touch of One’s Own Hand

If you knock your hand arm on something sharp, what is the first thing you do? I bet most of you say 'rub it better'.  We take that automatic response for granted but some very clever people in London, which is in England, have taken a very elegant (LJ take note of the use of that word here!) approach to investigating it. Marjolein Kammers from … [Read more...]

Misinformed Consent? What not to tell a patient with back pain

We just came across a fancy patient information form that was given to a patient after an assessment by a clinician. The form just blew our minds (but not in a good way) because it seemed to be the perfect clinical tool for generating ongoing pain and disability, and all by the simple process of ramping up the fear. So, just for fun, we thought … [Read more...]

Genetic predisposition to chronic pain

Tim Vaughan pretty much suggested that we comment on this paper which concerns a mouse study in which the scientists inflicted a neural injury and looked at a specific genetic marker in the mice who did and didn't develop chronic symptoms consistent with pain. They also looked at the marker in post-surgical humans who developed chronic pain and … [Read more...]

Searching for Rene Descartes or just ‘knowing’ he is there

Thanks to Daniel Hawes at twenty2five.blogspot, we were alerted to a recent paper in Psychological Science that investigated how easily people correct their beliefs[1]. Now, you have to know that the angle you are about to hear is speculative, although not outrageous.  The researchers argued that people make two kinds of mistakes on a phrase memory … [Read more...]

Acupuncture, Adenosine and Cycling Fish

You may have heard this story as it is all over the popular press right now. We are told that scientists have discovered some of the mechanisms underlying acupuncture analgesia. As always with alternative therapy reports the media have enthusiastically bitten off the hand of the press release (see this great account from the blog stuff and … [Read more...]

Of mice and men – Jeff Mogil on grimacing

You have almost certainly noticed that we grimace when we are in pain. But have you thought about that - I mean really thought about it? Why grimace?  Well, someone who clearly thinks about such things more than most is a fellow called Jeff Mogil - Professor of Pain Type Stuff at the very pain-posh McGill University in Montreal (pain-posh means … [Read more...]

Wanted: Pain Engineers

Have a talent and enjoyment for inflicting prescribed doses of pain? Your dream job awaits. (Biology undergraduate required.) Contact: 555-8428 …as seen in classified ads. You are not supposed to be reading this. You’re an ape who never evolved to read, but you can do so because writing culturally evolved to be shaped just right for your … [Read more...]

When the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome spreads, we should be thinking dorsal horn not malingering

Here is an important study.  A couple of Italian Neurologists have investigated people with carpal tunnel syndrome who report that their pain has spread beyond the boundaries of the median nerve.  Unfortunately, such reports are often misinterpreted by clinicians as evidence of malingering, or hysteria.  Well, these fellows did quantitative sensory … [Read more...]