rolling down this canyon drive with your laughter in my head

November 6, 2012

(I am sitting here like an eBay junkie watching the clock tick down to two so I can go register for my math class. Who would have ever thought I’d be so excited to sign up for math, but now that the hour is upon me I am just like y’all bitches get the fuck out the way, I am having that algebra class. In exactly one hour and fifty four minutes).

Because I am incapable of waiting patiently, and also because I am working on presenting scientific information in a relatable manner, here is what I have learned today about pain and how the brain processes it. I actually didn’t expect it to be so damn fascinating, and to have so many things I have observed explained so cleanly. Jesus do I love science. I almost wish I had kids, just so they could ask me questions about things and I would be all like WELL ACTUALLY the reason your knee still hurts is that one of your sensory pathways is all greased lightning! and the other is duh-duh. duh-duh. duh-duh. And then my education would be both useful and appreciated by someone other than myself, and I would feel not quite so inclined to torment my teacher with super long, super factual papers when really, all he wants is a brief, layperson breakdown of what I have been reading lately. Poor Mr. O.

Anyyyyhow. Pain.

The brain experiences pain using a network of sensory and emotional receptors, pathways and neurons. When a stimulus that causes damage or will cause damage if contact is prolonged is received by a pain receptor, the input travels along two pain pathways to the spinal cord, where it is relayed via the brainstem to specific pain interpreting neurons and then to the parts of the brain responsible for processing pain and emotion. The two pathways are called DeltaA and DeltaC. DeltaA is myelinated, which allows for very fast transmission time, responsible for the initial realization of pain; DeltaC is not myelinated, and impulses travel more slowly, causing the continual dull ache of an injury. The psychology of pain is processed by the frontal and temporal lobes and amygdala, which are also responsible for processing emotions. Pain is processed emotionally as an unpleasant stimulus and we learn what sort of situations to avoid in the future to prevent further pain. The emotional aspects of pain can have much longer lasting and more intense effects than the physical pain itself.

Speaking of pain, getting this shit off your fingernails:

I am


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