adBlockCheck

Science & Technology

How Clinical Trials Work

Prescription medications undergo rigorous rounds of testing and approval before hitting the consumer market. The Onion breaks down the steps involved in this process

Scientists Develop New Extra-Sloppy Peach

DAVIS, CA—Explaining that the latest strain of the fruit was far softer and runnier than previous varieties, agricultural scientists at the University of California, Davis announced Thursday the successful development of a new extra-sloppy peach.

SpaceX’s Plan To Colonize Mars

SpaceX founder Elon Musk continues to lay the groundwork to attempt the human colonization of Mars. Here’s a step-by-step guide to his plan:

The Pros And Cons Of Self-Driving Cars

With Uber’s robot cars debuting this week in Pittsburgh, many wonder whether driverless technology will improve or endanger our lives. The Onion weighs the pros and cons of self-driving cars

How Animals Go Extinct

With an estimated 40 percent of species on earth now considered endangered, many wonder how it’s possible for these animals to be wiped out. The Onion provides a step-by-step breakdown of how species go extinct

Horrible Facebook Algorithm Accident Results In Exposure To New Ideas

MENLO PARK, CA—Assuring users that the company’s entire team of engineers was working hard to make sure a glitch like this never happens again, Facebook executives confirmed during a press conference Tuesday that a horrible accident last night involving the website’s algorithm had resulted in thousands of users being exposed to new concepts.

Team Of Vatican Geneticists Successfully Clone God

VATICAN CITY—Describing the groundbreaking work as a major step forward for theological research, a team of Vatican geneticists held a press conference Tuesday at the Apostolic Palace to announce they had successfully cloned God.

Dad Shares Photo Album Through Never-Before-Seen Website

SECAUCUS, NJ—Wondering aloud how the father of three even managed to find the online image-hosting service, family members of local dad Phil Yates told reporters Monday the 57-year-old had shared a photo album with them through a never-before-seen website.

NASA Discovers Distant Planet Located Outside Funding Capabilities

WASHINGTON—Noting that the celestial body lies within the habitable zone of its parent star and could potentially harbor liquid water, NASA officials announced at a press conference Thursday they have discovered an Earth-like planet located outside their funding capabilities.

‘DSM-5’ Updated To Accommodate Man Who Is Legitimately Being Ordered To Kill By The Moon

ARLINGTON, VA—Saying they were committed to ensuring the influential reference text accurately represented all known psychological conditions, leading members of the American Psychiatric Association announced Monday they would update the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition to accommodate a man who is legitimately being ordered by the moon to kill those around him.

NASA Launches First Cordless Satellite

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL—In what experts are calling a breakthrough achievement that is poised to revolutionize American space exploration and telecommunications, NASA announced Friday it has successfully launched its first cordless satellite into orbit.

What Is Pokémon Go?

Since its debut last Thursday, the augmented-reality smartphone app Pokémon Go has been downloaded millions of times and has grown publisher Nintendo’s stock by 25 percent. The Onion answers some common questions about the game and its unprecedented success.

Factory Robot Working On Some Of Its Own Designs After Hours

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC—Saying it had been mulling over the “fun little side project” for a while, an Electroimpact Quadbot reportedly put in some extra work after hours at the Boeing assembly plant Wednesday to try out a few of its own original designs.

Books Vs. E-Readers

Though e-readers have increasingly supplanted books in the digital age, many bibliophiles defend the importance of physical texts. Here is a side-by-side comparison of physical books and e-books
End Of Section
  • More News

Study Finds Hearing Loved One's Voice Induces Excruciating Pain In Coma Patients

This coma patient currently feels like a saw is ripping through her spinal column, but because of her condition, she is unable to say anything.
This coma patient currently feels like a saw is ripping through her spinal column, but because of her condition, she is unable to say anything.

BALTIMORE—According to a study published Monday in The New England Journal Of Medicine, people in comas experience excruciating, indescribable levels of pain whenever they hear the sound of a loved one's voice.

The Johns Hopkins University study, which used fMRI brain-imaging technology to monitor the cerebral activity of more than 400 coma patients while friends and family members talked soothingly at their hospital bedsides, found that every second a loved one was speaking, subjects felt pain so agonizing that researchers have likened it to the sensation of having one's skin slowly removed with dull scissors before being doused in gasoline and set on fire.

"Whether the patient's sister was reading aloud from a favorite book or a spouse was relating shared happy memories, the data conclusively proved the participant was experiencing wave after wave of pain so torturous that you or I couldn't even begin to imagine it," said Dr. Adam Tyner, lead author of the study. "After hearing a loved one speak, every single coma patient we observed exhibited a huge spike in activity within the pain centers of the brain, at levels comparable to those of someone dropped into a vat of hydrochloric acid and then forced to roll around in salt."

"If you are in any way significant to or loved by a coma patient, it appears visiting that person in the hospital is the absolute worst thing you can do to him or her," Tyner continued. "You have to understand, if these individuals could speak, they would be screaming at their loved ones to please, for the love of all that is good and holy, stop talking."

Tyner said the data also proved that patients were very much cognizant of their surroundings and seemed to know precisely who was causing them the worst pain any human being could possibly experience. He went on to stress that what the subjects were experiencing was not simply emotional pain, but a very real and horrible physical pain, similar to the sensation of being dragged naked behind a truck over miles of jagged lava plains covered with tacks and broken glass.

"During trials in which a young son or daughter urged a parent to please, please just wake up, the pain reached an intensity so severe we can safely hypothesize these patients would gladly have jumped to their deaths from hospital windows cursing their children's names, had they the capacity to do so," Tyner said.

In addition, the study found many other stimuli besides vocalizations that caused immense pain in coma patients. The smell of fresh flowers, the presence of Mylar balloons, or a loved one gently running fingers through the subject's hair all caused pain so extreme it would cause a healthy person to mercifully black out. However, because of their condition coma patients are unable to scream for help, and are instead  forced to remain completely silent and aware as they endured a pain 10 times worse than that of a torture victim.

"No stimulus compared to utterances of 'I love you,'" Tyner said. "Those three words resulted in a pain that has no known equivalent, but the closest approximation would be the sensation of hot, rusty needles flowing through one's very blood stream."

Tyner said that the full implications of the study were still not totally clear, but that loved ones could take immediate steps to improve the palliative care of those in comas.

"Don't talk to them, don't gaze upon them lovingly, don't even think about them," Tyner said.  "Not surprisingly, the evidence suggests those in comas are so sensitive they can  faintly pick up sympathetic thoughts from friends and family, which also causes them terrible, unimaginable pain."

"The best advice I can give is that if you care for these people at all, just leave them completely alone until they either wake up or die," Tyner added.

WATCH VIDEO FROM THE ONION

Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close