Tylenol may dull emotions
Acetaminophen, known by its brand name Tylenol, is used by a millions of people to ease pain. But according to a study published in Psychological Science, it may also blunt a person's emotional responses.
Researchers at Ohio State Univesity recruited 85 people to either take 1,000 milligrams of Tylenol or a placebo. After one hour, participants were shown 40 images in random order that ranged from extremely pleasant (e.g. children laughing in a park with kittens) to neutral (e.g. a rolling pin on a table) to extremely unpleasant (e.g. an overflowing toilet). They were then asked to assess their emotions on a scale from 0 (little to no emotion) to 10 (extreme amount of emotion).
Researchers found that those who took Tylenol were around 20 percent less likely to rate images as extremely pleasant and 10 percent less likely to rate them extremely unpleasant. One possible explanation is that Tylenol reduces pain by acting on the insula, a part of the brain that also influences social emotions.
More trials need to be done to provide clearer guidelines for using the painkillers, but the scientists did note that people should continue to follow the advice of their doctors when it comes to managing pain.