One of the most popular painkillers may reduce not only our own hurt — it also might dull a sense of others’ pain.

Findings from Ohio State University study show a connection between acetaminophen use and empathy. “As expected, acetaminophen reduced perceived pain, empathic concern and personal distress [marginally] when witnessing ostracism,” the study authors wrote.

The findings in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience have practical applications, said Dominik Mischkowski, co-author who is now at the National Institutes of Health. It’s possible that acetaminophen can influence relationship processes, he suggested. Acetaminophen, found in Tylenol, is the most common drug ingredient in the nation, said the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.

Allie Shah


Pesticide exposure is linked to ALS risk

Exposure to pesticides may increase the risk for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a University of Michigan study found. The study, in JAMA Neurology, found that exposure to pesticides at any time was associated with a fivefold increased relative risk for ALS compared to no exposure. Even exposure more than 30 years ago tripled the risk. Military service was associated with double the risk.


Sense of well-being tied to a water view

Researchers from Michigan State University said they have for the first time shown a link between well-being tied to the visibility of water from a person’s home. Using Wellington, New Zealand, the urban capital, as its case study, the researchers found that those who lived near the Tasman Sea or the Pacific Ocean reported less psychological stress than residents who had views of forests or parks.

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