Last week, while I was laid out with the flu, I was watching a lot of television and one particular news story really grabbed my attention…by the heart strings: Researchers from the University of Michigan, Columbia University and the University of Colorado conducted a study that shows our brains register physical and emotional pain in almost identical ways. The results of their research were published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The story aired on all the talk shows and TV news outlets and appeared in print everywhere from the LA Times to the Daily News to The Brain Health, many with the headline “Love Hurts…No, it REALLY Hurts.” It proves what anyone who’s ever experienced a painful breakup already knows: rejection hurts.
In the study, the researchers scanned the brains of the recently brokenhearted and found that pain inflicted in the lab and looking at pictures of their exes registered almost identically in the brain, notably in an areas previously associated solely with physical pain. I don’t even need to see a photographic likeness! I can attest to wincing every time I see my ex’s screen name. In fact, here’s a whole list of things that give me the same heart-wrenching twinge:
Arizona Green Tea Iced Tea
“Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol
Old VW Bugs
“Do You Realize,” or just about anything by The Flaming Lips
Anything by Portishead
“Umbrella” by Rhianna
“I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry …”the taste of her cherry chapstick…”
“Sexy Back” by Justin Timberlake …”take it to the bridge!” …
“New York” by Jay Z. and Alicia Keys
“Chasing Pavement” by Adele
“Paper Planes” by M.I.A.
(I’ll keep updating this as these occur to me…)
Sigh. This list could go on… Obviously, I’ll be looking forward to further findings, like drugs that might suppress those feelings of pain in the brain!