Friday, May 16, 2014

Low Tolerance for Pain? The Reason May be in Your Genes

News Brief by Alice Chan

Doctors may now better understand how their patients tolerate pain based on genetics, according to a new study supported by Proove Biosciences, Inc. On the motivation for this investigation, study author Tobore Onojjighofia, MD, MPH stated, "chronic pain can affect every other part of life […] finding genes that may play a role in pain perception could provide a target for developing new therapies…”

Dr. Onojjighofia and his research team recruited 2,721 participants diagnosed with chronic pain for certain genes (COMT, DRD2, DRD1, and OPRK1) and prescribed with opioid pain medications. The participants rated their perceptions of pain on a scale ranging from zero (low pain perception) to 10 (high pain perception). The results revealed that nine percent of the participants reported low pain perception, 46 percent had moderate pain perception, and 45 percent had high pain perception. Furthermore, the DRD1 gene variant was found to be 33 percent more prevalent in the low pain group while the DRD2 gene variant was found to be 25 percent more common in the high pain group.

Dr. Onojjighofia and his team will present their findings at the upcoming 66th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology. He believes that his team’s study is a significant contribution because “it provides an objective way to understand pain and why different individuals have different pain tolerance levels.” 

American Academy of Neurology (AAN). (2014, April 20). Low tolerance for pain? The reason may be in your genes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 15, 2014 from
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