How much pain can the human brain handle?

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

Host:
Madeleine Brand

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

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