The estrogens are female sex hormones that are involved in a variety of physiological processes, including reproductive development and function, wound healing, and bone growth.
In addition to the role of estrogens in promoting tissue growth and development during normal physiological states, they have a well-established role in determining susceptibility to disease, particularly cancer, in reproductive tissues.
As with so many other biochemical components at work in our bodies, estrogen has both positive and negative effects and we each react differently depending on how the rest of our body is built. Continue reading →
Got widespread chronic pain? There’s a respectable chance you could be identified by your genes alone.
The largest study of the genetics of chronic pain patients to date found 76 genes that are independent risk factors for it (see Johnston). Interestingly, almost half of these genes are also risk factors for severe depression, and there’s also substantial genetic overlap between chronic pain and
Here is a recent lengthy review of what’s known about chronic pain: the various aspects of various types of pain under various circumstances.
This article shows the folly of making any numerical one-dimensional measurement of chronic pain, which can arise from a variety of causes, vary greatly over time and location, and make such intrusive incursions into our inner lives.
This special issue on matters related to chronic pain aims to draw on research and scholarly discourse from an eclectic mix of areas and perspectives. Continue reading →
Here Dr. Webster explains how our genes control both pain sensitivity and drug sensitivity. Many of us with EDS find ourselves with the most unfortunate combination of high pain sensitivity and low drug sensitivity (due to metabolic issues).
It can be notoriously difficult for psychiatrists and patients to determine which antidepressant might be most effective, or which might cause side effects.
And so Color Genomics, a company that already sells genetic tests to determine someone’s risk of developing certain cancers, said this week that it will also begin to offer a DNA test to determine how well widely used antidepressants are likely to work for patients.
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 →
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 →
Genetic tests are still in their infancy and reveal only the broadest strokes of our individual makeup. Merely knowing which genes we carry is only the beginning of decoding our DNA. Each gene can also be “activated” or “deactivated” by our own bodies in response to the environment, internal or external.
Additionally, almost all traits are governed by a multitude of genes and how they interact; genetic codes are a little like recipes in that ingredients aren’t the only concern, but how they are combined and processed/cooked.
This makes general genetic tests extremely imprecise when they are looking to establish a cause and effect relationship between specific genes and specific traits, like a propensity toward becoming addicted. Continue reading →
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 →