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Where do stings hurt worst?

 •  • by Paul Ingraham

Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of PainScience.com: a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

It’s a rare treat when an Ig Nobel prize goes to pain science, in the masochist category. For this Ig Nobel win

Michael Smith, of Cornell University, subjected himself to several stings a day to his face, arms and genitals to map out what section of the body was most sensitive to the barbs.

After weeks of research Smith found that although stings to his penis and testicles were uncomfortable, the worst place for a bee to attack was the nostril. Being stung on the upper lip was also one of the most painful locations for a bee sting.

But an honourable mention for stings on the shaft of the penis specifically.

Now for the fun part: trying to figure out where to cite this research here on PainScience.com!

(Aside: I’m a fan of CBC Radio One’s As It happens, and the easiest way to explain why I’ve been so dedicated to the show is that they always cover the Ig Nobels. In fact, they never stop: most of their science stories are about the kind of science that might win an Ig Nobel.)

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