Eyespy: September 2009
Bringing you the latest quirky medical stories from around the world
Swear away the pain—Scientists at Keele University have shown swearing to help reduce pain (NeuroReport 2009;20:1056-60, doi:10.1097/WNR.0b013e32832e64b1). A group of 64 patients were asked to immerse their hand in ice cold water, with half the group uttering expletives and the other half using more civil language. They showed that the swearers were able to tolerate the pain for considerably longer and say that this is because uttering obscenities triggers the fight or flight response, increasing heart rate while downplaying any weakness. However, this effect comes with a catch. The researchers say that to maximise the pain lessening effect, people need to do less casual swearing.
Pitfalls in positive thinking—Repeating self help phrases, such as “I am a loveable person,” seems only beneficial to people with high self esteem to begin with and is associated with reduced mood and self opinion in people who initially have low self esteem (Psychological Science