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Saturday, April 09, 2016

Is a popular painkiller (acetaminophen) hampering our ability to notice errors?

science news
 Date: April 8, 2016

It's been known for more than a century that acetaminophen is an effective painkiller, but according to a new U of T study it could also be impeding error-detection in the brain.
The research, authored by a team including postdoctoral fellow Dan Randles and researchers from the University of British Columbia, is the first neurological study to look at how acetaminophen could be inhibiting the brain response associated with making errors.
"Past research tells us physical pain and social rejection share a neural process that we experience as distress, and both have been traced to same part of the brain," says Randles.
Recent research has begun to show how exactly acetaminophen inhibits pain, while behavioural studies suggest it may also inhibit evaluative responses more generally. Randles own past research has found that people are less reactive to uncertain situations when under the effect of acetaminophen.
"The core idea of our study is that we don't fully understand how acetaminophen affects the brain," says Randles. "While there's been recent behavioural research on the effects of acetaminophen, we wanted to have a sense of what's happening neurologically."....

Journal Reference:
  1. Daniel Randles, Julia W.Y. Kam, Steven J. Heine, Michael Inzlicht, Todd C. Handy. Acetaminophen attenuates error evaluation in cortex. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2016; nsw023 DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsw023


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