The Effect of Endorphins on Pain

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27th of November 2011

Neurotransmitters are chemicals located in the brain that are responsible for communication of the information between and throughout the brain and the body. They send and transport signals via nerve cells (neurons). Without neurotransmitters our organism wouldn't have the ability to function because they are responsible for the operations in our body. With neurotransmitters, the brains sends signals to the other parts of the organism to perform the actions they need to. In past decades, numerous experiments were done to prove that and to find more about the neurotransmitters.

In 1987, Dr. Jon Levine of the University of California in San Francisco found out that placebo can be expressed as chemical. In other words, he believed that the brain can produce neurotransmitters that can act as pain-killers, therefore in some cases, the mentioned neurotransmitters may trick the organism to believe they were given a certain drug treatment that will relieve pain. The brain produces the neurotransmitters called endorphins which are similar to opiates and thus influence our body. As i.e. morphine is an opiate that will in certain quantity relieve the pain in our body, endorphins are "naturally produced opiates" that will act in a same way as morphine does.

In the same year he conducted an experiment called "Placebo's effect on pain may equal a dose of morphine" to really prove whether the neurotransmitters endorphins are responsible for pain-killing and they can act as pain-killers (equal a dose of morphine). Dr Levine wanted to see if giving the participants regular sugar pills and telling them they are pain-killers will have the same effect as if they were really given a pain-killer pill. As participants were under the influence of the placebo, the endorphins are produced and the pain is relieved. Then, his second aim was to then conclude to what does of morphine does placebo equal.

The participants were regular patients in a dental...
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