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Why Broken Hearts Hurt — and What Heals Them | Yoram Yovell | TED

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💫 Short Summary

Yoram Youvel discusses the impact of mental pain and the connection between physical and emotional distress, highlighting the role of endorphins in alleviating pain. Researchers have identified non-narcotic drugs that activate mu opioid receptors, offering potential treatment for pain without the addictive properties of narcotics. Further testing and clinical trials are needed before potential approval of these drugs for treating physical and mental pain.

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📊 Transcript
Yoram Youvel shares his personal experience of losing his father at a young age and how it influenced his career in psychiatry and neuroscience.
He discusses the connection between physical and mental pain, explaining how mental pain functions as an alarm system to prevent harm.
Scientists like Jaak Panksepp have identified brain circuits that connect emotional distress to sensations of physical and mental pain.
Mental pain plays a crucial role in bonding relationships and communities, emphasizing its importance in human connections.
The role of endorphins in easing physical and mental pain by attaching to mu opioid receptors in the brain.
Narcotics like morphine also activate mu opioid receptors, with low doses potentially reducing suicidal thoughts.
However, narcotics can be addictive and lethal in overdose.
Research is looking into safer alternatives that mimic endorphins' effects without the dangerous side effects of narcotics.
New drugs that activate mu opioid receptors in a similar way to endorphins could be effective in treating pain.
Discovery of Non-Narcotic Drugs for Pain Relief
Molecular docking algorithms were used to find two non-narcotic drugs that activate the human mu opioid receptor in small doses.
These drugs are considered safe and show potential in treating physical and mental pain without the addictive properties of narcotics.
Mental pain is recognized as a serious issue that can lead to suicidal thoughts, and endorphins play a key role in the body's natural pain relief.
The identified drugs are still in the testing and clinical trial phase before potential approval for use in the future.