Monday, December 10, 2012

Discovery of "Pain Gene" Paves Way to Personalized Pain Treatment

In a genomewide association study of some 1,800 subjects, Japanese scientists have identified a gene on chromosome 2 that appears to influence both pain sensitivity and susceptibility to substance dependence. In fact, as the scientists write in Molecular Psychiatry, it appears to be the most potent gene associated with human opioid sensitivity that has been identified.

The scientists are also attempting to harness their discovery to create personalized treatment for pain. As the lead scientist, Kazutaka Ikeda, Ph.D., of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, explained to Psychiatric News, "We predict [before surgery] the  right amount of opioid analgesic each patient will need postoperatively according to [the variant of the pain gene they possesss] together with other information about height, weight, gender, and pain sensitivity. Furthermore, we will apply the equation to predict the adequate amount of analgesic for cancer pain in the future."

Information about how psychiatrists can help patients suffering from chronic pain can be found in Psychiatric News here, here, and here. In addition, the Clinical Manual of Pain Management in Psychiatry is available through American Psychiatric Publishing.

(Image: Green Jo/