Thursday, April 16, 2015

Does acetaminophen flatten emotions?

I take Tylenol for knee pain. Yes, I saw the study recently that said it had limited use for that--but I tried stopping it and could tell a big difference.

Now comes a study at Ohio State that seems to indicate that acetaminophen, which has been used for more than 70 years in the US and is contained in 600 medicines (23% of Americans take it), may tamp down psychological pain as well as physical discomfort.

It reduces how much users feel positive and negative emotions, but mostly positive, the researchers contend.

You can check this out in the online version of Psychological Science if you want.

The scientists said acetaminophen users did not know they were acting differently.

Basically, the researchers had some college students take 1000 mg of acetaminophen, the others a placebo, and then after a period for it to take effect, they showed the kids pictures from a database called the International Affective Picture System. These ranged from unpleasant to neutral to pleasant.

Then they rated how positive or negative the photo was.

Both studies seemed to show the acetaminophen takers rated the photos less extremely--positive or negative.

They concluded that the "takers" didn't feel the same highs or lows as the placebo people.

But then they thought maybe the takers affected how people judge "magnitude"--so they did another study--in this one, the participants also reported how much of the color blue they saw.

Again, the positive and negatives were blunted in the takers--though the perception of the color was the same for both.

I am not sure what to make of this--seems like a lot of holes in it--such as people in pain (and even with acetaminophen there is some) may have a more negative view.

I am not the one to judge--my perceptions are crap, apparently.

PS Don't forget--emotions aside, if you take this, keep it under 4 gr a day--the liver, you know.

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