Genetics controls vulnerability to opioid addiction

Why genetics makes some people more vulnerable to opioid addiction – and protects others – 2018

From a scientific standpoint, addiction is a disease. And, as researchers who study opioid addiction, we’re hopeful about where epigenetics, the science of how DNA code is regulated, can lead us.

Just as genetics can affect a person’s risk for heart disease, cancer or diabetes, it can also make them more or less susceptible to addiction.

A great deal of research in the last decade has focused on tiny differences in a person’s DNA – termed single-nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs. These SNPs can indicate whether you have a higher or lower rick for addiction.   Continue reading

Role of Stress Gene in Chronic Pain

Researchers Elucidate Role of Stress Gene in Chronic Pain – from NIH – Posted on  by 

For most people, pain eventually fades away as an injury heals. But for others, the pain persists beyond the initial healing and becomes chronic, hanging on for weeks, months, or even years.

Now, we may have uncovered an answer to help explain why: subtle differences in a gene that controls how the body responds to stress.

In a recent study of more than 1,600 people injured in traffic accidents, researchers discovered that individuals with a certain variant in a stress-controlling gene, called FKBP5, were more likely to develop chronic pain than those with other variants.   Continue reading

Feds Battle Opioid Abuse With A Circular Firing Squad

Feds Battle Opioid Abuse With A Circular Firing Squad – Henry I. Miller and Josh Bloom | 08/29/2018

our government’s inept attempts to control the opioid epidemic. The most recent evidence was an article in the August 22 edition of the journal JAMA Surgery.

Following the Drug Enforcement Administration’s bumping of hydrocodone-containing medications into a more highly regulated classification — specifically, in order to curb opioid use — “there was an immediate significant increase” in the mean number of initial postoperative prescriptions for opioids and that that effect was sustained for a year.

And this is no secret. Everyone but the DEA knows that tightening restrictions on a drug only pushes it to be more profitable on the black market.   Continue reading

FDA Investigating Misuse, Abuse of Gabapentinoids

FDA Investigating Misuse, Abuse of Gabapentinoids – by Joyce Frieden, News Editor, MedPage Today – February 15, 2018

Gabapentinoids such as pregabalin (Lyrica) as well as the original agent gabapentin (Neurontin) are approved to treat a variety of conditions, including post-herpetic neuralgia, fibromyalgia, and neuropathic pain associated with diabetes, and

“some literature suggests that clinicians may be prescribing these drugs off-label … as alternatives to opioids, outside approved indications,” Gottlieb said.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  Continue reading

Tapentadol: for acute and chronic pain

Here are excerpts from 5 PubMed studies on tapentadol (an atypical opioid):

Tapentadol Prolonged Release for Chronic Pain: A Review of Clinical Trials and 5 Years of Routine Clinical Practice Data. – PubMed – NCBI – Pain Pract. June 2017

Tapentadol prolonged release (PR) for the treatment of moderate to severe chronic pain combines 2 modes of action.

These are μ-opioid receptor agonism and noradrenaline reuptake inhibition in a single molecule that allow higher analgesic potency through modulation of different pharmacological targets within the pain-transmitting systems.   Continue reading

Blame Opioid Crisis on Illicit Websites, Dealers

Drug Firms Blame Opioid Crisis on Illicit Websites, Dealers – Bloomberg.com – By Jared S Hopkins and Jef Feeley – July 19, 2018

Two pharmaceutical companies say the real culprits in the opioids epidemic are illegal dealers of the painkillers and want them to be on the hook financially for any damages potentially assessed against drugmakers.

Endo International Plc and Mallinckrodt Plc sued a host of convicted drug dealers and Internet sites this week for illegally offering opioids.

Good luck with that! The reason the DEA isn’t going after these suppliers of illicit opioids is that they are hard to find, hard to track, and dangerous to arrest because they have weapons.   Continue reading

Learning and Unlearning of Pain

Learning and Unlearning of Pain – free full-text article /PMC6027134/ – Biomedicines. 2018 Jun

This review provides an overview of learning mechanisms and memory aspects for the development of chronic pain.

Pain can be influenced in important ways by an individual’s personality, by family, and by the sociocultural environment in which they live. Therefore, learning mechanisms can explain why pain experience and pain behavior can increase or decrease.

Linking pain with positive consequences or removing negative consequences can contribute significantly to the chronification of pain.

If pain were linked with positive consequences, we wouldn’t mind having it, but I find it impossible to imagine how to link even moderate pain with anything positive. Continue reading

Effect of pain on cognitive impairment in older adults

The effect of pain on major cognitive impairment in older adults – July 10, 2018 

Highlights

  • Pain is a common problem, even in this relatively healthy community-dwelling cohort
  • High pain levels are associated with increased risk of developing memory impairment
  • Pain is not associated with developing attention or executive function impairment  [This has not been my experience -zyp]

Older adults frequently report pain; cross-sectional studies have shown that pain is associated with worse cognitive function. However, longitudinal studies are lacking.   Continue reading

Why Sitting May Be Bad for Your Brain

Why Sitting May Be Bad for Your Brain – By Gretchen Reynolds – Aug. 15, 2018

Sitting for hours without moving can slow the flow of blood to our brains, according to a cautionary new study of office workers, a finding that could have implications for long-term brain health.

But getting up and strolling for just two minutes every half-hour seems to stave off this decline in brain blood flow and may even increase it.

That sounds so reasonable and almost trivial until you try it yourself.   Continue reading

Study Shows How Aspirin Fights Inflammation

Study Shows How Aspirin Fights Inflammation – National Pain Report

A daily low-dose aspirin has long been recommended by doctors for its cardiovascular benefits.

But only now are researchers getting a better understanding of how aspirin reduces the inflammation that can lead to heart disease and other chronic health conditions.

So, doctors were recommending something even though they didn’t know its mechanism of action. I always thought it worked because it thinned the blood.    Continue reading