How much pain can the human brain handle?

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How does the human brain respond to pain? Journalist Nicola Twilley offered to be a test subject for Irene Tracey, who calls her Oxford lab the “torture chamber.” Researchers stuck needles in Twiley’s calf, burned the back of her hand with a laser, and applied a cream to her shin, which contained capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the burning sensation in chili peppers.

Credits

Human brain illustrated with millions of small nerves courtesy of ra2 studio.

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Christian Bordal, Quinn O'Toole, Yael Even Or, Alexandra Sif Tryggvadottir