This news story discusses recent findings regarding the role of the central amygdala in pain mediation. The amygdala is a part of the brain’s limbic system that is mainly responsible for processing emotions, however, it has also been known to have other roles. As the original study found, one of those happens to be processing and adjusting pain sensations. According to the article, the actual feeling of pain does not require the amygdala to occur, but the amygdala will amplify or suppress this sensation depending on the situation. The story in question briefly summarizes these findings and discusses how they can be applied to benefit the future of medicine. Being able to control the central amygdala would allow us to alleviate problems such as chronic pain, while still being able to detect important pain that we should seek medical attention for.
This news story has a few shortcomings, mainly in the way it presents itself. Being an article posted on CTV’s website, it should be relatively available for everybody, however, it has cases of unexplained jargon, even though they are rather minor. Words such as “neurons” should have been explained, especially since the title does its best to make the article so approachable.
Another issue with the article was the number of advertisements. Although they were not aggressive, there were plenty of them, and they impeded the flow of reading by appearing in the middle of the page. Also, there was no author name, bio, or info to access, so there was no way to tell if the author had written any previous pieces for the website. Apart from these issues, the article was well written, although it could have gone into more detail about the study itself, such as the methods, intentions, or hypotheses. The only part that covers any of this was when the article stated that the researchers had “studied mice”.
This CTV Health news article focuses on new findings from a Cell published research study regarding pain and how the brain (and perception) manages it. The article mentions how pain can be useful in that it can be a warning when something is wrong with the body, but that it can also become a nuisance when the pain becomes severe and chronic. The author combines an interview with the senior author of the research paper and the author’s interpretation of the study results. The dual role of the central amygdala in pain perception was noted, highlighting the roles of protein kinase C-delta fibers that increase pain and somatostatin fibers that decrease pain.
This news article simplifies some interesting findings into how scientists are further understanding pain perception, and how this could lead to cures for illnesses involving chronic pain. However, at times, the author seems to oversimplify the findings of the study and focus on the results that align with the quotes from the senior author. As well, there are some claims made by the author that seem to be a stretch and/or are unsourced. While these problems within the news article should be considered, clear links and open access to the original research article allow for more interested readers to obtain the full picture and the limitations of the research done.
The author kept the article in third person and did not seem to have much of a biased opinion. However, the results of the linked research article were oversimplified. While the author presents opinions from the author of the paper, the only result mentioned is that protein kinase C fibers are involved in pain amplification and somatostatin fibers reduce pain within the amygdala. The article’s conclusions only suggest that this is the case and do mention that in vivo studies need to be performed, and also mention other important results such as how those two nerve fibers are involved in specific pain modalities (e.g. heat, tactile, cold) and how their signals and responses are heterogeneous.
While independent sources were used, there was only one other source mentioned to more so demonstrate the point that not all pain is useful. This claim has less to do with the actual results of the paper and more to do with explaining the importance of their results – that understanding how the brain controls pain can help in discovering remedies for conditions involving chronic pain. As well, there is no direct link to the source of the “2012 survey” mentioned.
As well, the author claims that often, severe levels of pain lead to opiate and illicit drug use, and also mentions the possibility of these drugs being laced with fentanyl, without any source. While this could be true in some cases, the lack of a source and the jump to an extreme conclusion of the increased use of hard drugs seems to indicate an appeal to fear fallacy.
That said, while there were some false claims made, the language was generally neutral. No result was exaggerated, and no attempt was made to berate the scientific process. The research article upon which this news article is based off of is from a very reputable journal, Cell, and is linked clearly in two prominent places within the article. The research article as well is open access. The main downfalls in accessibility within this news article are the lack of sources to the claims derived from outside the research article and the lack of contact information for the news article author.
The views expressed by the reviewers for this article are not endorsed or shared by SciFeye. The interpretation of the review of the news story using the SciFeye Index was done independently by two SciFeye reviewers. We encourage you to conduct your own evaluation of the accuracy and quality of the news story using the Index.