Tag Archives: epigenetics

Genetic Polymorphisms and Pain

Genetic Polymorphisms: Understanding Their Relationship With Cancer Pain – Clinical Pain Advisor – by Vicki Moore, PhD – June 2020

Cancer pain is no different than any other pain and this article explains why and how genetic factors are critical in determining opioid doses.

The Genetic Connection

In addition to genetic polymorphisms associated with the experience of pain, several SNPs have been linked to responses to pain analgesia, such as with opioid therapy.

Although opioids are often an efficacious therapy for pain related to cancer, patients may show varying responses to opioid treatment in association with SNPs in OPRM1, COMT, ABCB1 and other genes.   Continue reading

Can a Parent’s Life Experience Be Inherited?

Can a Parent’s Life Experience Change the Genes a Child Inherits? – The Atlantic – June 2018

Cells use their genes to make proteins and RNA molecules. And to keep some genes active and some silenced, they surround them with other molecules.

Some molecules, called methyl groups, can coat part of a gene. They are often involved in keeping genes shut down. Other molecules coil up long segments of DNA, hiding the genes they contain.

The study of genes is genetics; the study of the molecules that control genes is often referred to is epigenetics.   Continue reading

Basic Explanation of Epigenetics

What is Epigenetics? – The is a whole website dedicated to the science of epigenetics. These two fundamental articles are a perfect introduction to the topic.

A Super Brief and Basic Explanation of Epigenetics for Total Beginners

DNA gives the instructions for various functional proteins to be produced inside the cell — this process is also known as the central dogma of molecular biology.

Epigenetics affects how genes are read by cells, and subsequently whether the cells should produce relevant proteins. Continue reading

Stress Hormone Causes Epigenetic Changes

Stress Hormone Causes Epigenetic Changes | National Institutes of Health (NIH)September 27, 2010

Researchers found that chronic exposure to a stress hormone causes modifications to DNA in the brains of mice, prompting changes in gene expression. The new finding provides clues into how chronic stress might affect human behavior.

And how about the chronic stress from living with constant pain? And never being able to plan ahead because it’s impossible to know how much pain any day or time will bring, impossible to know what you’ll be capable of at any specific time?

What about the stress of being disabled from earning a paycheck and making a living, of having to rely on government handouts and the generosity of family and friends?

And, to top it off, always having to worry whether your doctor will continue prescribing opioids or leave you to suffer the endless torture without relief?  Continue reading

The Sorrow and Inheritance of Suicide

The Sorrow of Suicide | NIH News in Health – May 2012

Suicide is tragic. It cuts a life short, and it devastates the family, friends and loved ones left behind.

The children of people who die by suicide are more likely to later die by suicide themselves.

This is because we inherit not only our parents’ genes but also the epigenetic markers on those genes, so we can “inherit” a depressed or stressed state or behavior from our parents thru epigenetics and pass our own stress down to our children as well.   Continue reading

Chronic Pain Patients at Higher Risk for Coronavirus

Chronic Pain Patients Are at Higher Risk for CoronavirusBy Lynn Webster, M.D. – Feb 2020

In this article Dr. Webster makes an important point: the ravages of chronic pain affect our susceptibility to other illnesses because our whole bodies, including our immune system, are affected by the constant stress brought about by this constant biological state of high alert.

It might be worthwhile showing this article (link above) to your doctor, including the scientific article explaining the research (link below).

The people with increased risk for experiencing severe symptoms, and possibly dying of COVID-19, are seniors and those with chronic illness.   Continue reading

Physical Activity and Brain Health – Part 2

Physical Activity and Brain Health – free full-text PMC6770965/ – Genes (Basel).  Sep 2019 – continued from Part 1

Exercise-Dependent Production of Dopamine, Endocannabinoids, and Opioids: Effects on Mood, Analgesia, and Happiness

In addition to an improvement of body fitness and learning and memory skills, it is well documented that PA (Physical Activity) can induce changes in the mental status, reducing anxiety and producing a general sense of wellbeing.

Moreover, it can induce analgesia.

Really? When I engage in physical activity, it’s usually a painful endeavor. If I didn’t enjoy some activities so very much, like hiking, bicycling, and dancing, I can’t imagine I’d have the will to do them.
Continue reading

Physical Activity and Brain Health – Part 1

Physical Activity and Brain Health – free full-text PMC6770965/ – Genes (Basel).  Sep 2019

Physical activity (PA) has been central in the life of our species for most of its history, and thus shaped our physiology during evolution. However, only recently the health consequences of a sedentary lifestyle, and of highly energetic diets, are becoming clear.

It has been also acknowledged that lifestyle and diet can induce epigenetic modifications which modify chromatin structure and gene expression, thus causing even heritable metabolic outcomes.

About 50 years ago, scientists first learned that genetics has another layer, epigenetics. It matters not just what your genes are, but also on whether they are turned on or off.  Continue reading

Some bacteria can eat cleaning products

Did you know that some bacteria can eat cleaning products? – by Ada McVean B.Sc. | Feb 2019

This is just something I found interesting and, in some ways, encouraging so I’m sharing it with you.

If organisms can so quickly evolve to get sustenance from substances that were previously poisonous, perhaps other earthly life forms can adapt quickly enough to survive the increasingly crazy temperature fluctuations and weather anomalies on this planet. (I’m certainly having problems with adapting myself.)

Have you ever noticed the message on the front of a Lysol bottle: “Kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria”? Well, that 0.1% is causing NASA some real issues.  Continue reading

The Involvement of Epigenetics in Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain: Emerging Evidence for the Involvement of Epigenetics – free full-text /PMC3996727/ – Apr 2013


Epigenetic processes, such as histone modifications and DNA methylation, have been associated with many neural functions including synaptic plasticity, learning, and memory.

Here, we critically examine emerging evidence linking epigenetic mechanisms to the development or maintenance of chronic pain states.

Although in its infancy, research in this area potentially unifies several pathophysiological processes underpinning abnormal pain processing and opens up a different avenue for the development of novel analgesics.   Continue reading