PerspectiveNeuroscience

More pain; less gain

Science  01 Aug 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6196, pp. 513-514
DOI: 10.1126/science.1258477

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Summary

Pain is arguably the most completely understood of all sensations at the molecular and neural circuit level (13). Noxious stimuli elicit a variety of rapid tissue-protective responses. Pain also has an unpleasant affective-motivational dimension that, when persistent, can dominate behavior. When chronic, pain produces fatigue and mood changes that diminish many of life's pleasures. In contrast to our detailed understanding of acute pain, we know much less about how persistent pain alters behaviors at the molecular and neural circuit levels. On page 535 of this issue, Schwartz et al. (4) advance our understanding of how persistent noxious stimuli affect reward-seeking behavior.