London - How pioneering scientists tested their theories on themselves to find cures.

The challenge: To find out which areas of the body are most affected by pain.

What was the experiment? Michael Smith, a bee behaviourist from Cornell University in the US, allowed himself to be stung three times a day on 25 different parts of his body over a five-week period.

He wanted to work out how levels of pain vary according to which part of the body is stung.

Each time he left the bee’s stinger in his skin for a minute before rating his pain on a scale of one to ten.

Smith launched his bizarre experiment after being stung previously on his scrotum while doing bee-keeping research — the sting had not hurt as much as expected.

Was it worth it? Smith discovered that the pain was most intense on his nostril, which he gave a pain rating of nine, compared with seven for his scrotum.

It’s early days but the experiments, published in the scientific journal PeerJ last month, have led to a map of the body identifying the most sensitive areas.

This can be used by doctors to decide how much local anaesthetic to administer to treat pain. - Daily Mail