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PAIN IS ALL IN THE GENES; DNA mix can help you take the strain.

A PAIN gene may be the key to why some people can stand more agony than others.

Researchers have found a gene which makes an enzyme that controls the nerve signals involved in feeling pain.

The gene comes in two forms and every single person carries two copies of the gene, one from their father and one from their mother.

A study of volunteers showed that those with two copies of one form of the gene felt much more pain than those with two copies of the other.

People with one copy of each gene variation had a pain response somewhere between the two.

Both types of genes - known as "val" and "met" - make versions of an enzyme called Catechol- O-methyl transferase (COMT).

Dr Jon-Kar Zubieta, of the University of Michigan, who led the research, said: "Participants who had two copies of the val form withstood quite a bit more pain than others in the study, while at the same time reporting that they felt less pain and fewer pain- related negative emotions."

The researchers, who reported their results in the journal Science, used brain scans to trace the brain's pain responses.

A total of 29 men and women aged 20 to 30 were given controlled salt- water injections in their jaw muscles to induce pain.

Subjects rated their pain every 15 seconds during each scan and filled out questionnaires assessing how they felt.

reporters@dailyrecord.co.uk
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 21, 2003
Words:238
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