The Hindu Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Pain-sensing cells are either male or female, finds study

 GS-2 Mains Exam : Health

Revision Notes


Question : Analyze the role of hormones such as prolactin and orexin-B in influencing pain sensitivity in males and females. What are the potential challenges and benefits of incorporating sex-specific factors into pain treatment protocols?

Why Pain Perception Might Differ Between Men and Women

  • We all know pain is unpleasant, but it turns out women might experience it more intensely than men.
  • This is because the sensory cells responsible for pain, called nociceptors, might be more “sensitive” in females.
  • This study aimed to understand the biological mechanisms behind this difference.

Prolactin and Orexin-B

  • Researchers focused on two key players: prolactin and orexin-B. Prolactin is a hormone linked to breast tissue growth, while orexin-B is a neurotransmitter involved in wakefulness.
  • Previous studies suggested these hormones might influence pain sensitivity differently in males and females.

Investigating Hormone Effects on Nociceptors

  • The scientists studied nerve cells (nociceptors) isolated from mice, monkeys, and humans.
  • They exposed these cells to prolactin and orexin-B to see how the hormones affected their activity.

Sex-Specific Nociceptor Response

  • Prolactin: In female mice and monkeys, prolactin caused the nociceptors to “fire up” more, indicating increased pain sensitivity. This effect wasn’t observed in males.
  • Orexin-B: Conversely, orexin-B heightened nociceptor activity in male mice and monkeys, but not females.

Implications for Pain Management

  • Traditionally, sex hasn’t been a major consideration in pain treatment.
  • Doctors prescribe medications based on the condition, not necessarily the patient’s sex. However, this research suggests sex might be an important factor.

Why Sex Matters in Pain Management

  • Different Pain Conditions Affect Different Sexes: Women are more prone to conditions like migraines and endometriosis, which involve heightened pain sensitivity. Men, on the other hand, experience more cluster headaches and gout.
  • Sex-Specific Pain Therapies: By understanding how hormones influence nociceptor function in males and females, researchers can develop more targeted pain treatments. This could lead to more effective pain management for both men and women.

Future Directions

  • This research is a significant step towards understanding sex differences in pain perception.
  • Further studies are needed to explore the exact mechanisms by which prolactin and orexin-B influence nociceptor activity.
  • This knowledge will be crucial for designing personalized pain therapies tailored to each sex.




The Hindu Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Regenerative Braking in Electric Vehicles Explained

 GS-2 Mains Exam : Health

Revision Notes

Question : Analyze the advantages and limitations of regenerative braking in electric vehicles. Why is it often combined with traditional friction braking systems?


  • Electric vehicles are a sustainable alternative to reduce emissions.
  • Regenerative braking is a key mechanism that improves their energy efficiency.

Braking Basics:

  • Braking removes kinetic energy from a moving vehicle to slow it down.
  • Traditional brakes (disc brakes) use friction to convert kinetic energy into heat.
  • Electric vehicle braking can be regenerative or rheostatic.

Regenerative Braking Explained:

  • Captures kinetic energy from wheels during braking and converts it to electrical energy.
  • This recovered energy can be stored and reused later to propel the vehicle.
  • In an electric vehicle, the electric motor acts as both a motor and a generator.
    • As a motor: uses battery power to spin the wheels (electric to mechanical energy).
    • As a generator: uses wheel rotation to generate electricity during braking (mechanical to electrical energy).
  • This stored electrical energy increases the vehicle’s overall energy efficiency.

How Motor Becomes a Generator:

  • An electric motor has a rotating part (rotor) and a stationary part (stator).
  • The stator’s magnetic field interacts with the current flowing through wires in the rotor.
  • This interaction creates a force that rotates the rotor (motor function).
  • During regenerative braking, the motor spins due to the car’s motion, forcing current flow (generator function).

Regenerative Braking Downsides:

  • May not be enough to bring a vehicle to a complete stop.
    • Often needs to be combined with a traditional friction braking system for full stopping power.
    • Usually cannot prevent the car from rolling backward downhill.
  • Recovered energy reduces as the vehicle slows down.

Benefits in Stop-Start Traffic:

  • Regenerative braking is most beneficial in stop-and-start traffic conditions.
  • It recovers energy during braking that would otherwise be lost as heat, improving overall efficiency.

Other Energy Recovery Methods:

  • Flywheels can also store recovered kinetic energy from a vehicle’s motion.
    • They store energy by increasing the rotational speed of a flywheel disc.
    • Flywheels can absorb energy quickly and release it steadily.


Regenerative braking is a key technology in electric vehicles that helps recapture energy and improve efficiency. It works by converting the vehicle’s kinetic energy into electricity during braking, which can then be reused for propulsion. While it has limitations, regenerative braking is a valuable tool for sustainable transportation.



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