It's important to know how much pain young hospital patients are
experiencing, and not just because no one wants them to suffer –
additionally, excessive pain can indicate problems that need addressing.
That's why scientists at the University of California, San Diego School
of Medicine have developed facial pattern recognition software that
objectively assesses children's pain levels based on consistent
As it stands, there's not a whole lot we know about pain. Where a tissue or blood sample can be drawn and studied, our nervous system comprising different kinds of cells running signals through complex piping around the body presents a difficult task for scientific research. But a new study details a technique that turns blood cells into different nerve cells, promising to improve our understanding of why things itch or burn. By extension, it is hoped that it could lead to new forms of pain relief that do away with unwanted side effects such as sleepiness or loss of concentration.