Consciousness and how it got to be that way

Friday, April 12, 2013

An Objective Measurement of Pain

In medicine, pain is an often-overlooked vital sign, and it's very difficult to know the level of pain people are in (if any) based on their report - and that's the only way we have of doing it. That may be changing. An fMRI study of 114 people at U of Colorado showed >90% sensitivity and specificity for objective pain detection. Each subject was their own control, since they were subjected to painful and non-painful heat. The team was even capable of fairly reliably discriminating between social and physical pain.

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