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Why Squid Might Be The Answer To Pain and Survival

Why Squid Might Be The Answer To Pain and Survival.

Photo: Wikipedia, Bigfin Reef Squid

Photo: Wikipedia, Bigfin Reef Squid

Pain may be unpleasant, but it’s also important. It keeps us from continuing to do things that damage our bodies. In fact, people who are born without normal pain sensitivity most often harm themselves accidentally.

When you grab a cup of hot coffee and burn your hand just slightly, it can sting for hours, or even days. What’s the point of that? New study suggests that long-lasting pain from a minor injury is actually an evolved survival skill.

A  study led by Edgar T. Walters, a professor at the University of Texas Medical School, looked at the behavior of squids who’d suffered minor injuries.

We have found that behavioral hypersensitivity in rats tested months after SCI is closely correlated with a dramatic, widespread increase in the incidence of spontaneous activity (SA) in the cell bodies of nociceptors, with this SA being expressed both in vivo and for at least a day after dissociating and culturing nociceptors.

Current projects employ multidisciplinary methods (behavioral tests, whole cell patch clamp, immunocytochemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology) to define electrophysiological mechanisms of SCI-induced SA, cell signaling alterations underlying the development and maintenance of chronic SA, and behavioral consequences of nociceptor SA.When exposed to a predator (the squid-gobbling black sea bass), injured squids were more likely to be attacked.

Fear not: Those injured squids fought back, showing a better use of defensive mechanisms than their uninjured counterparts.

The researchers gave some of those injured squid an anesthetic, and found that with the effects of their injuries blocked, the squids did not display heightened defense mechanisms. They were still more likely to be attacked, but they failed to respond with enough gusto to escape the dreaded bass.

There’s no evidence that squid are complex enough creatures to experience a conscious sensation that we could call pain, the researchers said. The nerve sensitivity they experience after injury could be entirely unconscious. But a better understanding of how that sensitivity works could help us learn how to treat it, even in humans.

Why Squid Might Be The Answer To Pain and Survival.

About Jordanna

From San Diego, California. "Good news is rare these days, and every glittering ounce of it should be cherished and hoarded and worshiped and fondled like a priceless diamond." -Hunter S. Thompson