Tag Archives: genetics

Low Tolerance for Pain May Be Genetic

Low Tolerance for Pain May Be Genetic | WIRED– Laura Sanders – Mar 2010

One form of a common genetic variant may ratchet up pain sensitivity in people who have it, researchers report online March 8 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the new study, researchers led by clinical geneticist Geoffrey Woods of the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research in the United Kingdom examined the DNA of 578 people with the painful condition osteoarthritis.

Woods and his colleagues searched for genetic variations that might be linked to how much pain a patient reported feeling — a subjective measure, Woods says, but currently the best researchers can do.   Continue reading


The Impact & Inheritance of Epigenetic Changes

Here are 5 articles about the Impact & Inheritance of Epigenetic Changes:

Grandma’s Experiences Leave Epigenetic Mark on Your Genes | DiscoverMagazine.com –  May 2013

Why can’t your friend “just get over” her upbringing by an angry, distant mother? Why can’t she “just snap out of it”? The reason may well be due to methyl groups that were added in childhood to genes in her brain, thereby handcuffing her mood to feelings of fear and despair.

According to the new insights of behavioral epigenetics, traumatic experiences in our past, or in our recent ancestors’ past, leave molecular scars adhering to our DNA.   Continue reading

Chronic Pain Causes Epigenetic Changes

Neuropathic pain promotes adaptive changes in gene expression in brain networks involved in stress and depression | Science Signaling | Mar 2017:

Molecular links between pain, stress, and depression

Chronic stress or pain is associated with the development of depression.

Mouse models suggest that chronic pain from nerve injury leads to the onset of depression-like behaviors.

This statement implies a direct causation from pain to depression (in mice).   Continue reading

Epigenetic regulation of chronic pain

Here are three recent scientific full-text PMC articles about how chronic pain induces epigenetic changes which in turn may then also affect the pain in a feedback loop.

Epigenetic regulation of chronic pain  – PMC4422180 – 2016 Apr


Chronic pain arising from peripheral inflammation and tissue or nerve injury is a common clinical symptom.

Inflammation-, tissue injury-, and/or nerve injury-induced changes in gene expression in sensory neurons of the dorsal root ganglion (DRG), spinal cord dorsal horn, and pain-associated brain regions are thought to participate in chronic pain genesis; however, how these changes occur is still elusive.   Continue reading

Genetic Testing in Pain Medicine

Genetic Testing in Pain Medicine—The Future Is Coming – Practical Pain Management – By Steven H. Richeimer, MD and John J. Lee, MD

A patient’s response to pain and opioids is quite variable, making identifying patients who are good (risk-free) candidates for opioid therapy difficult.

Genetic studies, however, have begun to shine light on some of these questions.

This new field of medicine can potentially help physicians choose more effective treatments (similar to targeted cancer therapies), decrease iatrogenic addictions and overdoses by prescreening patients for genetic risks, and possibly even aid in the diagnosis of genetically based pain conditions.  [like EDS -zyp]   Continue reading

Most Genes Matter for Most Traits

What If (Almost) Every Gene Affects (Almost) Everything? – The Atlantic – June 2017 – by ED YONG

If you told a modern geneticist that a complex trait—whether a physical characteristic like height or weight, or the risk of a disease like cancer or schizophrenia—was the work of just 15 genes, they’d probably laugh.

It’s now thought that such traits are the work of thousands of genetic variants, working in concert.

The vast majority of them have only tiny effects, but together, they can dramatically shape our bodies and our health. They’re weak individually, but powerful en masse.  Continue reading

Frequency of CYP2D6 alleles affecting drug metabolism

Prediction of CYP2D6 phenotype from genotype across world populations – Genet Med. 2017 Jan; – free full-text PMC article

Owing to its highly polymorphic nature and major contribution to the metabolism and bioactivation of numerous clinically used drugs, CYP2D6 is one of the most extensively studied drug-metabolizing enzymes and pharmacogenes.

CYP2D6 alleles confer no, decreased, normal, or increased activity and cause a wide range of activity among individuals and between populations.

I’ve added a glossary of genetic terms at the end of this post.  Continue reading

The role of epigenetics in human adaptivity

On epigenetics: we need both Darwin’s and Lamarck’s theories | Aeon Essays – Nov 2016 – by Michael Skinner

This is just an interesting article about the general role of epigenetics in humans. Epigenetics seems to assure a level of randomness and changeability unavailable in our genetic codes, further complicating our efforts to find the “blueprint” for any individual.

By allowing genes to be switched on or off, epigenetics allows the environment, both external and internal to the body, to change the expression of our individual genetic code.

This gives us hope to alter some of how our bodies are genetically programmed to act through subtle changes in our biochemistry, and also assures a level of randomness unavailable in our genetic code. And this further complicates our efforts to find a firm “blueprint” for any individual.  Continue reading

Painful Genetic Diseases

Editor’s Memo: Painful Genetic Diseases – Practical Pain Management – by Forrest Tenant – April 2017

Patients who have painful genetic diseases make up 20% to 30% of my practice.

These patients often report to me that they are misunderstood, that they receive poor pain care, that doctors are afraid of them, and that they have not been able to obtain ongoing chronic pain care.

Part of the problem is that some medical practitioners, including those in emergency rooms and pain clinics, don’t believe that these genetic diseases cause pain.   Continue reading

Chronic pain leads to epigenetic changes

Chronic pain changes our immune systems | Channels – McGill University – By Cynthia Lee – Jan 2016

Many anti-opioid folks believe it’s always better not to prescribe/take opioids because they are so extremely dangerous, while pain is “just a feeling” that a person can “deal with”.

However, they are wrong. Pain is not just a “feeling”.

Leaving pain poorly controlled can lead to changes in how our genes are expressed, especially in the immune system.

Pain is the body’s alarm system, intended to get you moving to either fight or flee. It’s an extreme stressor which initiates a chain of biochemical consequences, including those that turn some of our genes on and off.  Continue reading