We have completed maintenance on DiscoverMagazine.com and action may be required on your account. Learn More

Honest, You Won't Feel a Thing

By Maia Weinstock
Jan 1, 2002 6:00 AMNov 12, 2019 5:21 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Blood is often in short supply at American hospitals, which need about 32,000 pints of RED blood cells a day to perform surgeries and treat victims of accidents and disease. Although people respond eagerly in times of crisis—Americans gave about three times as much blood as normal in the four days following the September 11 attacks—red blood cells last for only 42 days and must constantly be replenished. So researchers at Ohio University have developed an audiovisual treat to help convert squeamish first timers into blood-bank regulars. After giving blood, people often report faintness, dizziness, and nausea—symptoms that are at least partly stress induced. Psychologist Christopher France of Ohio University and his colleagues tried to alleviate these effects by having a group of donors wear headphones and 3-D goggles displaying pleasant scenes (such as a travelogue through Paris) while they gave blood. Afterward, the subjects filled out a questionnaire to gauge their physiological reactions. Not surprisingly, people who said they were bothered by seeing or knowing details of the bloodletting benefited the most from the distraction. "If we can reduce the severity of common side effects, they'll have more pleasant experiences and want to come back," France says.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.