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Gene linked to pain perception

Common genetic variant makes some people more sensitive

One form of a common genetic variant may ratchet up pain sensitivity in people who have it, researchers report online March 8 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The discovery could lead to more powerful pain treatments that lack the debilitating side effects of current drugs. “We could fill our clinics many times over with people with chronic pain that we can’t help with our current medications,” says neurologist and neuroscientist Stephen Waxman of Yale University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Connecticut Hospital in West Haven.

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