Common painkiller may halt the ability to detect errors
The popular and effective painkiller "Acetaminophen" could hamper the brain from noticing errors as per new research from University of Toronto and University of British Columbia (UBC), however, it is the first neurological study from these Universities. Dan Randles, a fellow at the University of Toronto quotes, "Past research tells us physical pain and social rejection share a neural process that we experience as distress and both have been traced to same part of the brain".
Current research showed the ways how acetaminophen involves in pain inhibition, while behavioural studies propose that it may also inhibit evaluative responses more generally. Previous research has also showed that people when under acetaminophen effect, they are less reactive to uncertain situations.
According to Randles, "The core idea of our study is that we don't fully understand how acetaminophen affects the brain". "While there's been recent behavioural research on the effects of acetaminophen, we wanted to have a sense of what's happening neurologically".
For the research, 30 participants were divided into two groups and alloted a target-detection task known as Go or No Go. Further, researchers asked them to hit a Go button when on a screen letter F flashed but abstain this from doing the same when the button E flashed on the screen. Randles says "The trick is you're supposed to move very quickly capturing all the GOs, but hold back when you see a No Go".
In this study, Electroencephalogram (EEG) was used to measure electrical activity in the brain of the participants and by doing so, they detected those waves which they were searching for i.e. Error Related Negativity (ERN) and Error Related Positivity (Pe). Therefore, when the participants were attached to EEG, they made mistake and robust increase noticed in ERN and Pe waves.
A normal dose, 1000 milligrammes of acetaminophen was given to one group which exhibited a smaller Pe wave when making errors which indicates that it is harder to find an error with the aid of acetaminophen as comapred to the others who did not take acetaminophen.
"It looks like acetaminophen makes it harder to recognise an error, which may have implications for cognitive control in daily life," expressed Randles. The study was published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.