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"I feel your pain" More than Just a Phrase

Aimee Herd : Dec 29, 2009  News Staff – Reuters Health

Study finds some respondents actually experienced pain while seeing someone else in pain.

EDITOR'S NOTE: While I find this research very interesting, I am not surprised by it. First as a mother—and I know most other moms would agree (perhaps fathers too)—I think we can certainly "feel" the pain our children might be going through at times. Also, as a Believer, sometimes in deep intercession and prayer on someone else's behalf, you can actually experience a degree of that person's pain or heartache. And then, although this research doesn't mention it, I know studies and testimonies have found that twins will often experience their other twin's pain. Clearly, this is confirmation that our brains and our "hearts" or emotions are entwined and not separate; a beautiful design by God that facilitates deep compassion. It's maybe when we try to separate them that we can become numb. –Aimee Herd, BCN.

Scan from a Functional MRIAccording to a recent Reuters Health report, some people really do vicariously feel another's pain when they see them hurt in some way.

The research was led by Dr. Stuart W. G. Derbyshire of the University of Birmingham, who—first—had 108 college students view images of "painful situations," such as injections or sports injuries. About a third of the students said they not only experienced emotional reactions, but also "fleeting pain" in that same area while viewing at least one of the images.

Next, Derbyshire used a "functional MRI" (which measures the stimuli in certain parts of the brain) to scan 10 students in both the "responders" and "non-responders" groups. The study found that while both experienced emotional reactions to the "painful" images; the "responders" also showed greater stimulus of the "pain-related" areas in their brains.

Derbyshire explained, "We think this confirms that at least some people have an actual physical reaction when observing others being injured or expressing pain."

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