Tag Archives: genetics

How Exercise Changes Gene Activity

How Exercise Changes Fat and Muscle Cells – NYTimes.com – By Gretchen Reynolds – July 31, 2013

Exercise seems able to drastically alter how genes operate.

One powerful means of affecting gene activity involves a process called methylation, in which methyl groups, a cluster of carbon and hydrogen atoms, attach to the outside of a gene and make it easier or harder for that gene to receive and respond to messages from the body.

Exercise promotes health, reducing most people’s risks of developing diabetes and growing obese. But just how, at a cellular level, exercise performs this beneficial magic — what physiological steps are involved and in what order — remains mysterious to a surprising degree.   Continue reading


Postoperative Pain Risk Linked to Genetics

Chronic Postoperative Pain Risk Linked to Gene Polymorphisms – Jan 2018

Genetics may be a factor in the experience of chronic pain post surgery, according to a study published online in Anesthesiology.

Yuanyuan Tian, PhD, from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and colleagues genotyped 638 polymorphisms within 54 pain-related genes in 1152 surgical patients who were enrolled in the Persistent Pain after Surgery Study. 

Polymorphisms were validated in a matched cohort of 103 patients with chronic postsurgical pain and 103 pain-free patients.  Continue reading

Epigenetics, cellular memory, and gene regulation

Epigenetics, cellular memory and gene regulation: Current Biology – July 2016

The field described as ‘epigenetics’ has captured the imagination of scientists and the lay public. 

However, when describing these scientific advances as ‘epigenetic’, we encounter the problem that this term means different things to different people, starting within the scientific community and amplified in the popular press.

To help researchers understand some of the misconceptions in the field and to communicate the science accurately to each other and the lay audience, here we review the basis for many of the assumptions made about what are currently referred to as epigenetic processes.  Continue reading

Surprise: No Two Neurons Are Genetically Alike

Scientists Surprised to Find No Two Neurons Are Genetically Alike – Scientific American

The past few decades have seen intensive efforts to find the genetic roots of neurological disorders, from schizophrenia to autism. But the genes singled out so far have provided only sketchy clues.

There are several other places to look for the missing burden of risk, and one surprising possible source has recently emerged—an idea that overturns a fundamental tenet of biology and has many researchers excited about a completely new avenue of inquiry.   Continue reading

Genetic Testing for Opioid Pain Management: A Primer

Genetic Testing for Opioid Pain Management: A Primer – April 2017 – free full-text article /PMC5447546/

An increased use of prescription medications (especially opioids) has led to an increase in adverse drug reactions and has heightened our awareness of the variability in response to medications.

Pharmacogenetics has improved our understanding of drug efficacy and response, opened doors to individual tailoring of medical management, and created a series of ethical and economic considerations.

Since it is a relatively new field, genetic testing has not been fully integrated into the primary care setting.   Continue reading

Role of Genetic Variation in Personalized Therapy

Polymorphic Cytochrome P450 Enzymes (CYPs) and Their Role in Personalized Therapy – December 10, 2013 – free full-text article

The cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes are major players in drug metabolism. More than 2,000 mutations have been described, and certain single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been shown to have a large impact on CYP activity.

Therefore, CYPs play an important role in inter-individual drug response and their genetic variability should be factored into personalized medicine.

We have personalized medicine for everything but pain, in which case rigid standards are set by politicians and enforced by the DEA.  Continue reading

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