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J Clin Invest. 2010 Nov;120(11):3742-4. doi: 10.1172/JCI45178. Epub 2010 Nov 1.

What is this thing called pain?

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


To paraphrase Cole Porter's famous 1926 song, "What is this thing called pain? This funny thing called pain, just who can solve its mystery?" Pain, like love, is all consuming: when you have it, not much else matters, and there is nothing you can do about it. Unlike love, however, we are actually beginning to tease apart the mystery of pain. The substantial progress made over the last decade in revealing the genes, molecules, cells, and circuits that determine the sensation of pain offers new opportunities to manage it, as revealed in this Review series by some of the foremost experts in the field.

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