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aceplace57
01-30-2011, 01:43 PM
I've heard of pain Receptors and the ability to sense hot/cold.
http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/P/Pain.html

Does the brain feel pain, hot/cold? For example after a bullet wound or surgery?

IIRC Ripley's Believe It or Not has cases of people surviving for years with nails or spikes stuck in their heads. Usually because of accidents,explosions, or war. Early medicine couldn't remove the objects without causing further damage.

Phineas P. Gage had a railroad tamping road driven through his skull after an explosion. He recovered and lived another 12 years.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phineas_Gage

Were these people feeling pain in their brain? I'd assume the damaged tissue & bone around the skull penetration was painful.

engineer_comp_geek
01-30-2011, 02:11 PM
The brain tissue itself does not have pain receptors and can't feel pain. Of course, there are plenty of pain receptors in the tissues around the brain, as you noted.

KarlGauss
01-30-2011, 02:12 PM
No, brain tissue itself does not feel pain.

Still, there are a number of other structures/tissues inside the skull that do feel pain such as portions of the outermost membrane of the brain (the dura mater (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dura_mater)). The veins and some of the arteries inside the brain can also feel pain. There are also nerves which start in the brain and exit from the skull (i.e. cranial nerves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cranial_nerve)). Certain of those can feel pain (e.g. the 5th or trigeminal nerve (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trigeminal_nerve)). And, the skull itself can feel pain.

running coach
01-30-2011, 02:50 PM
The brain tissue itself does not have pain receptors and can't feel pain. Of course, there are plenty of pain receptors in the tissues around the brain, as you noted.

There's other ways of having fun with an exposed brain (http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y148/Zippozeppo/far_side002.jpg).

aceplace57
01-30-2011, 03:35 PM
Thank you for the replies. I'd wondered about this for awhile.

thelurkinghorror
01-30-2011, 03:53 PM
They do some types of brain surgery while the patient is awake, especially for things like epilepsy. They numb the skull with local anesthetic, and get started. The main reason for keeping them awake is so that you can no if any function is disrupted, if for example you are cutting near the motor cortex and don't want to paralyze the patient's body parts.