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November 1, 2012

Your Genes May Determine the Level of Pain Felt After an Automobile Crash

New research conducted by scientist from the University of North Carolina has found that genes play a role in the amount of pain and the severity of pain a person experiences after being involved in an automobile crash.

Two studies were conducted and data from 948 adult automobile accident victims were collected to determine that certain inherited genetic variations affect the response to pain intensity both immediately after an accident and up to six weeks after. The adult participants of these two studies provided blood samples after being treated in an emergency room and were also evaluated for extent and severity of pain at a second emergency room visit six weeks later.

The first study conducted examined the role of the neurotransmitter drug called Dopamine, which helps regulate pain. The pain levels felt immediately after an automobile crash was varied based on genetic variations associated with the use of Dopamine.

The second study evaluated the role of hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis - a hormonal system - which helps regulate the body's response to stressful events and situations. It was found that a gene variant was linked to a 20% higher risk of moderate to severe neck pain six weeks after an automobile crash, as well as greater overall body pain.

This research will allow us to find new ways of tailoring pain treatments to each individual patient in order to alleviate pain suffered as a result of an automobile crash, both immediately after a crash and weeks after.