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BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 13 April 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2251

A German radio station recently ran a rather morbid competition: the winner was offered a cheque to cover their funeral costs (not to pay for the funeral itself, but for funeral insurance). In the UK, funeral costs have risen by 50% over the past six years and a funeral costs on average around £5000 (€5700; $8100). But the sky’s the limit, depending on the choice of coffin and hidden costs that get bundled in—refrigeration, embalming, body preparation, and flowers (, 28 March 2011).

Extreme social rejection and physical pain share similar areas of the brain (, doi:10.1073/pnas.1102693108). A US team showed people who had recently experienced an unwanted relationship break-up a picture of their ex-partner, and asked them to think about the rejection. Functional magnetic resonance showed that the areas of the brain that support the sensory components of physical pain became active. The results, say the researchers, give new meaning to …

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