Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Does the brain have its own painkillers?
Scientists now know that the brain can produce its own natural opium-like chemicals, called endorphins. But the brain releases small amounts of these natural narcotics only in response to the stress of some sort of trauma. Their effect is evident in accident victims, who feel no initial pain after a traumatic injury, for example, or in marathon runners, who are insensible to soreness until after they finish their race. Endorphins can provide only temporary relief.