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Pain Threshold Genetically Linked

Research workers at the University of Michigan in a new study have indicated that a person's pain threshold may be inherited. The difference between those who can tolerate pain and those who can't may come down to slight variation within a single gene.

The study showed that variation in a gene that encodes a certain enzyme has a significant effect on pain tolerance and pain related emotions of individuals.

This research seems to be a bridge between behavior effects, brain circuits and genetics.

The gene that encodes the enzyme expresses itself in one of two ways. All people receive one of these genes (alleles) from each parent.

When stimulated painfully, one group of patients withstood much less pain and reported feeling pain related negative emotions much more than the other group.

The enzyme metabolizes the brain chemicals, dopamine and noradrenaline.

All of us have long known that there is a very major difference in how different individuals react to pain. There have been many theories in the past of why this occurred.

This new research at the University of Michigan certainly may shed some light on the problem, which is related to our genetic makeup.