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Genetics May Play A Role In Chronic Pain

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Researchers at the Duke University Medical Center have discovered a collection of gene variants that may indicate which people are more likely to suffer chronic pain of various forms.

Researchers collaborated with the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center and analyzed blood samples from 49 service members, all of whom had amputated limbs. Some of the service members suffer persistent phantom pains in their absent limbs.

After completing full gene maps for each service member they found several gene overlaps in those that suffer the phantom pains.

"Persistent phantom pain after amputation is a serious problem with no effective treatments. By identifying these 'pain genes,' we may be able to discover the reasons why pain occurs and predict which patients are more likely to have it. In the future, we hope to discover the biology of persistent pain and develop ways to combat it," the researchers said.

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