Waves were once regarded as limited to about 25 meters in height. The limits have now been eliminated. Pain was once thought to be manageable with a strong will. What this idea is based on is very hard to determine, beyond the assumption that Nature would make it so, would have to make it so. The idea that it was up to man, not Nature. to limit pain arrived only recently.
The June Scientific American, pp. 61-67 reviews some important aspects of pain chemistry at the synapse. Realizing how little the average scientist knows about pain chemistry, Dr. Basbaum and Dr. Julius dumb things down, compared to their actual knowledge. This only shows how tough it has been to get the scientifically minded public to equip themselves with knowledge of pain. It has been far worse to get clinicians to study it.
Alan Hess has been the favored author at this site since the first submission. Approximately 25,000 people have read at least one version of his recounting. Here is the latest update. We have not received a single comment to his diary entries. What is there to say except how much we hope that next year this time a treatment will have arrived to provide some relief to this wonderful, direct author.
Weirdness is of course the whole point. That is what we try to convey to our doctors, who insist on putting us back onto the Procrustean bed of non-weird (normal) pain. Actually, when you think about it, even normal pain is weird. How did pain get here, anyway?
Glutamate and aspartate are the main excitatory neurotransmitters in the nervous system. GABA(A) and glycine are the primary two inhibitory amino acids of the nervous system. The receptor for glycine behaves oddly during development. Glycine is the double agent employed by both NMDA and inhibitory forces. Glycine is the mole in the NMDA organization. We are not presently exploiting the mole–somehow solving pain has not caught the imagination of anyone. It is, it would appear, OUR problem, and no concern of anyone else (except people like Christopher Reeve). Consequently, we are entirely too dependent on non-U.S. research for information on these topics.