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Medicine Science

A Broken Heart Really Does Hurt, Scientists Claim 220

Death Metal writes "Psychologists at the University of California, Los Angeles say the human body has a gene that connects physical pain sensitivity with social pain sensitivity. The findings back the common theory that rejection 'hurts' by showing that a gene regulating the body's most potent painkillers — mu-opioids — is involved in socially painful experiences too."
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A Broken Heart Really Does Hurt, Scientists Claim

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  • Re:slashdoters (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PeterBrett ( 780946 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @04:23AM (#29154243) Homepage
    Some more than others, unfortunately.
  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @04:50AM (#29154307) Journal
    I've been punched in the face, I've had torn muscles, I've stubbed my toe, I've hit my thumb with a hammer, and nothing has hurt as much as a broken heart. This seemed pretty obvious to me, but I am glad that researchers are paying attention to feelings, and figuring out what is there.
  • Not funny (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 22, 2009 @04:51AM (#29154311)

    I've lost several close family members in the past year. I used to be part of a big happy close family and now I find myself alone. The pain and suffering I have endured are real. I would not wish this misfortune upon anyone.

  • by Jafafa Hots ( 580169 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @05:08AM (#29154367) Homepage Journal

    Shit... I've been hit by a pickup truck, had a shattered pelvis, fractured skull, internal injuries. Had to learn to walk again. Went through withdrawal from Demerol. Had a total bowel obstruction that required emergency surgery. Had a catheter removed without the little balloon being deflated first.
    Broke my arm four times. Had a barium enema (doesn't sound like much but those fuckers HURT)

    Those things took from days to months to repair and grow adequate scar tissue.

    Broken heart? Well, I think I'm pretty much over it now... and it's only been 25 years. (Well, I'm over when she's not around anyway...)

  • Painkillers? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dunkelfalke ( 91624 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @05:27AM (#29154417)

    Does it mean that painkillers like Ibuprofen would help to lessen the pain of being dumped? That is a kind of an acute issue for me right now.

  • Re:Makes Sense... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @06:38AM (#29154563) Journal

    Isn't it logical to think that society as we know it is shaped because of feelings and pain we as a species experience? Your reality would be entirely different if that wasn't true. It is an intended outcome.

  • Re:Makes Sense... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 22, 2009 @06:46AM (#29154595)

    Yes yes If only god existed and was benevolent we would live in a world as perfect and as pleasant as the one described in "brave new world".

  • Re:Painkillers? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by value_added ( 719364 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @07:20AM (#29154689)

    Pain killers like the kind your brain gives you when you get laid would work better. Seriously, go have some meaningless sex - it WILL help.

    Mod parent up. I've had my heart broken a few times, but there's usually one relationship that kills you the most, and it's that one that lingers throughout your life.

    At the time, I tried working longer hours, regularly drinking heavily, lots of drugs, socialising with friends, going for long solitary walks ... you name it. Distractions like working longer hours do help (provided you're past the "I'm out of my mind with grief and want to kill myself and take everyone with me" stage, but anonymous sex beats the other methods by a mile.

    You'll earn bonus points if your anonymous sex partner is especially pretty; you tend to experience everything with heightened awareness in the first few weeks or months, so chances are high you'll remember your partner's face and body (and possibly her name). Being able to move very far away earns you the Daily Double, just so long as you don't risk losing everything by travelling back in the first few years to wallow in the nostalgia.

    When all is done and you've moved on with your life, be sure to watch or listen to some Sam Kinison [youtube.com] videos from time to time to keep things in "perspective".

  • by elbobo ( 28495 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @08:58AM (#29154917)

    That's not the point. There's plenty of things we can observe as apparent fact. The research is to work out the how and why.

    Sometimes that research confirms what we hold to be self evident truths while providing an empirical description of the functioning of the phenomenon, and sometimes it shows the truth to be false, based on misconception or otherwise.

    The research is important; knowledge and understanding is important.

  • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 ) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Saturday August 22, 2009 @09:04AM (#29154931)

    Irony - A year later I saw her on campus and she wanted to know why I stopped calling. She claimed I had hurt her. As if rejecting me four times didn't hurt. (rolls eyes). A typical, socially-inept, clueless female nerd.

    That's not irony, that's an attention whore. Once you stop doting on them they'll come to you and try to get your hopes back up.

  • by Drenaran ( 1073150 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @09:53AM (#29155093)

    What terrifies me is that I could easily see this form of child selection occurring. Remember how vain and cruel those girls from high school were? Well, guess what, those girls become the vain and cruel wives of rich men, placing them squarely in the realm of people who can afford to perform genetic screening on their kids and "weed out" "negative" traits.

  • by speedtux ( 1307149 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @10:24AM (#29155257)

    A single date with no sex doesn't count as "treating men like toss-away toys, and not care". If you expect sex, love, or a relationship after one date and one kiss, there's something wrong with you, not with her. Maybe she isn't over her ex-boyfriend but would consider you once she is (in a year or two). Or maybe she is also going on dinner dates with other guys and hasn't made up her mind yet. Or maybe she likes you enough to have nice dinners with you but doesn't find you attractive enough to have sex with.

    Adults often go on good dates repeatedly without ending up with sex or a relationship. Adults even engage in "dating" and sexual innuendo for fun if there is no possibility of anything happening--it's called flirting. Adults do that because it's fun and because they have enough maturity to keep their emotions in check. If you can't deal with that, it's you who's a "socially inept, clueless nerd".

    And the gene they used for testing this idea generally increases pain sensitivity, not just emotional sensitivity--and most people lack it. You probably lack it too.

  • by derGoldstein ( 1494129 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @10:27AM (#29155271) Homepage

    Remember how vain and cruel those girls from high school were? Well, guess what, those girls become the vain and cruel wives of rich men

    That's anecdotal.

    But even if it were true, then those same wealthy individuals would already have spread their own nature (vanity, cruelty, etc.) through their genes, as well as their behavior around their children, and those children will be sent to private schools and placed on a course to MBA-ish jobs when they graduate. If you were fearing the "dicks in high places" syndrome, it's already been deployed.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @10:27AM (#29155277) Journal

    >>>>>This study might explain why some women can treat men like toss-away toys, and not care.

    >They can't treat men like that, only whiny little pussies.

    Really? Well I know just such a woman. She married a guy, then she divorced him because she was flirting with guy #2. Then she married guy #2, but meanwhile she was flirting with guy #3, so divorced guy #2 about five years later. She married guy #3, but was flirting with guy #4, and then divorced guy #3.

    Three men. NONE of them were pussies, but she still managed to hurt all three of them with her actions, because she doesn't care about other person's feelings.

  • Re:Painkillers? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @11:04AM (#29155443)

    Those are the two things I applied a year ago (and am still applying) to get over a broken heart. I left my country, started travelling and kept travelling, and have shagged lots of different lovely girls along the way. It really works. And I've met some great people.

    Oh isn't this typical! Someone says they're hurting because they've lost the one they love and the answer is "Yeah, I'd miss the sex too." A broken heart doesn't come from a lack of nookie you insensitive bastard. It comes from the gut-wrenching experience of having invested months or years into a relationship that suddenly ends. And usually because of that kind of investment, the other relationships in that person's life have suffered neglect to maintain the romantic one. So it's a double-whammy -- not only are they suddenly alone, but everyone they used to know is either gone or distant to boot. It's not just the rejection of a former lover that hurts, its waking up from that and discovering you don't have any friends around you either -- possibly because your ex has them all now!

    Sex is not going to fill that hole if you have any kind of heart, okay? Every man seems to think it will and they go on a massive f*ck-fest. It doesn't work. After their 15 seconds of fame is over, they're still lonely. And it's not just men either -- women with low self-esteem do the same thing. That hurt you feel late at night that makes you want to clutch a pillow and imagine someone holding you does not come from a lack of sex. It comes from a lack of love. And for that, there's only one thing to do; Start meeting new people. Not just people you're sexually attracted to (chances are you're too depressed anyway to be objective about this) -- I mean anyone that seems even remotely interesting. Reconnect with the human race. Don't take pills, don't buy a big sack of condoms, and don't hit the frozen dairy aisle -- get up, go outside, and don't come back until you've learned at least one new thing about someone you didn't know before. And find friends that don't say things like this idiot did -- sex is not everything. Any real friend will tell you this.

  • Re:Feel No Pain (Score:4, Insightful)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @11:12AM (#29155471)

    Do The Evolution ;)

    You idiot... If you can't feel pain you can't learn. Adversity breeds character, but it also breeds common sense. People who can't feel pain have to be very careful because they won't know they're hurting themselves -- they will happily hold on to a burning-hot sauce pan and have no idea that in the process of making eggs they've just caused 3rd degree burns on their hand.

    Besides, if you ever want to see the kind of damage not being able to feel pain can do -- go visit the hospital and head up to the department labeled "Chemical Dependency". You'll have a hundred new reasons to treasure your pain receptors after that...

  • by mhajicek ( 1582795 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @11:17AM (#29155511)
    I think it's more that some people simply haven't learned to empathize. Either that or they don't bother.
  • by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @11:36AM (#29155647) Homepage
    Any man that chooses to be with a woman who is already either married/in a serious relationship when they start up should expect at some point it will happen again, with him getting dumped for the new flame. They may not have been "pussies" but they weren't being smart or didn't want a monogamous relationship. Cheaters aren't going to just up and change their behavior "just because it is you".
  • by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @12:33PM (#29155979) Journal

    Obviously you've never had a vampyric, somatic narcissistic woman sink her fangs into you. Bedroom skills have nothing to do with what makes them happy. what makes them happy is taking every social, psychological and financial resource you have for themselves, they feed off your pain.

  • by ahabswhale ( 1189519 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @02:20PM (#29156665)
    Dude, this was just her incredibly lame way of saying she wanted to be friends/acquaintances and that's it without hurting your feelings. At best she would use you as a back up if her primary choice didn't work out but probably not. Anyway, most chicks realize that if they just flat out reject you then the chance of friendship is usually out the window.
  • by BorgCopyeditor ( 590345 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @05:22PM (#29157701)

    You should listen to what people here are telling you about your misinterpretation of the situation (even the ones who seem to you to be being jerks about it). You might learn something.

    Here's a similar mind-bender: someone can like you and want to try moving ahead into some intimate contact, and your reaction to that can turn them right off. Being really uptight about the thing, showing that you're ready to be "hurt" if things don't go as you want, demanding explanations--all these sorts of actions on your part can change someone's mind about you. If you're not aware of how those actions can do that, it can seem to you that you've been led down the garden path and then rejected "inconsistently" or "cruelly."

    I don't presume that the woman you mention was not stringing you along, but even if she was, you are responsible for letting yourself be "hurt" by her. It's funny how little in human interactions can properly described as one person doing something to another; it takes two to do the dysfunctional tango.

    I wish you better luck next time you like someone. Better than luck, though, is knowledge and honesty with oneself. Hard stuff, but it makes life better all around.

    (P.S. Looking for explanations for your situation in speculation about genetic dispositions toward cruelty is not a step in the right direction.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 23, 2009 @12:50AM (#29160901)

    I know some haven't learned to emapthize. I was helping one friend of mine deal with the world, and told him to "Try thinking about how it would feel if you put yourself in the position of the other person." and told me he'd never thought about doing that. It was obvious that he was genuinely intrigued by the thought and the effects on understanding people.

    I have no idea how common it is - this guy has grown up with abusive parents and have some learning problems that might also influence.

    Posting anonymously for obvious reasons.

  • by gr8dude ( 832945 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @03:42AM (#29161725) Homepage

    Got a friend with a similar situation. The problem is that your expectations were too high, while her expectations were much lower than yours.

    It is like hugging everyone when you meet them - this decreases a "value" of a hug. To a non-hugger (i.e. someone who only hugs special people) being hugged by a hyper-hugger the situation is interpreted as "wow! I am hugged by this person, it means that something is going on". Of course, you get to see the big picture when you realize they hug everyone they see.

    For some people kisses are like that too.

    For some people, having sex is also a "common thing" which does not necessarily involve feelings, serious intentions and plans for the future.

    Therefore the only thing I can tell you is to learn not to rush things. Take your time and get to know the person. Yes, there are indeed "a lot of women like that in the world, who lack basic empathy for the pain they cause to men", but it doesn't mean that you don't have the power not to let them hurt you.

  • Re:Feel No Pain (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fred_A ( 10934 ) <fred@freds[ ]e.org ['hom' in gap]> on Sunday August 23, 2009 @04:13AM (#29161887) Homepage

    I remember reading somewhere that people who can't feel pain, generally don't live past their 20's. Something almost always ends up killing them without them knowing.

    Which, as an aside, is why I've always been puzzled by the various claims that "fish (or insert your critter here) don't feel pain" (usually claimed by anglers so they can stick various pointy things through the animal's jaws) since it's such an essential evolutionary trait. It's more than likely that pretty much anything that has a reasonably complex nervous system can feel pain, including insects.

  • Re:Feel No Pain (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RockDoctor ( 15477 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @05:06AM (#29162079) Journal

    If you can't feel pain you can't learn.

    Your evidence for this assertion is ...?

    Adversity breeds character,

    Your evidence for this assertion is ...? (having had to deal with a lot of the "adversity is character-building" retarded sadists over the years, I'm more of the opinion that adverse circumstances may discover or reveal innate character (sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse), but doesn't "build" or "develop" it (whatever those mean). While I'm a great fan of active, outdoor hobbies, I never did swallow that "character-building" mouthful from a number of the proponents I've met, including teachers.)

    but it also breeds common sense.

    s/common sense/experience/ and you'd be correct, almost by definition. But does "common sense" equal "experience"? I think not, though I wouldn't dispute that "experience" is a substantial component of "common sense". I think that turning experience into a reasonable probability of avoiding similar problems in the future, or of managing them better, will also certainly require a reasonable working memory, as well as a degree of introspection. The latter is certainly lacking in some people, often the ones who go on about "use some common sense!", because it needs you to accept that you may personally be wrong.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @07:35AM (#29162561) Journal


    Look for the single women, not the divorced or married ones.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @02:18PM (#29165053) Journal

    [editing fixed]

    YOU: "You can put that off to some other day, can't you? I've asked you out several times over the past few months and you keep giving me excuses. I could go hang out with some other girl but I'd rather spend time with you. I'll be there at 7. See you then." *walks away*

    ^^^ You see what happened there? You were assertive. You didn't accept her bullshit and you didn't take no for answer.

    Yeah but that approach is a one-way destination to eventual divorce. No woman (or man) wants to be married to a jerk that bosses her around like that. Yes I'm sure that approach succeeds in getting some wet-behind-the-knees girl into your bed, maybe even engaged for marriage, but you can't build a lifetime relationship on that "Me Man; Me tell you want to do" method. You only setup longterm failure.

    That doesn't mean your advice is total trash. At one point I did mention another date I had with one of her sorority sisters, but I wasn't a jerk about it. I just said, "Sarah and I went out for dinner last week. She seems nice. So what's new with you?" It has the same effect as what you advise, making her realize she's not the only woman in my life, but without being a dick.

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?