Chronic pain linked to partners of people with depression

August 16, 2016, University of Edinburgh
Credit: George Hodan/Public Domain

Partners of people with depression are more likely to suffer from chronic pain, research has found.

The study shows that the two conditions share common causes - some of which are genetic whilst other causes originate from the environment that partners share.

Experts say their findings shed new light on the illnesses and could one day help to develop better diagnostic tests and treatments.

Researchers led by the University of Edinburgh studied information from more than 100,000 taking part in large nationwide health studies.

The team analysed people's genetic background as well as details about their experiences of pain and depression.

Their findings revealed that chronic pain is caused partly by someone's genetic make-up and partly by as yet unidentified that are shared jointly by partners or spouses.

They also identified significant overlaps between the risk factors for chronic pain and depression.

Chronic pain is a common cause of disability but little is known about what causes it. Scientists say the research will bring a new understanding of why some people suffer from the condition and not others.

The research used data from the Generation Scotland and UK Biobank projects - major studies investigating genetic links to health conditions.

Researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Glasgow collaborated on the project. The study, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, was funded by Wellcome.

Professor Andrew McIntosh, Chair of Biological Psychiatry at the University of Edinburgh, said: "We hope our research will encourage people to think about the relationship between and and whether physical and are as separate as some believe."

Explore further: Depression is genetic, not a pain in the back

More information: McIntosh AM, Hall LS, Zeng Y, Adams MJ, Gibson J, Wigmore E, et al. (2016) Genetic and Environmental Risk for Chronic Pain and the Contribution of Risk Variants for Major Depressive Disorder: A Family-Based Mixed-Model Analysis. PLoS Med 13(8): e1002090. journals.plos.org/plosmedicine … journal.pmed.1002090

Related Stories

Depression is genetic, not a pain in the back

April 13, 2015
If you suffer from depression and back pain odds are it's down to your genes, suggests new research from the University of Sydney.

Study confirms gene link to brain disorders

August 15, 2016
Brain scans have revealed how a genetic mutation linked to major psychiatric disorders affects the structure, function and chemistry of the brain.

Does chronic pain run in families?

July 6, 2016
Can an increased risk of chronic pain be transmitted from parents to children? Several factors may contribute, including genetics, effects on early development, social learning, and more according to a report in the journal ...

Twin study lends new insights into link between back pain and depression

February 26, 2015
Genetic factors help to explain the commonly found association between low back pain and depression, suggests a large study of twins in the March issue of PAIN, the official publication of the International Association for ...

Mind over matter could reduce back pain anguish

July 13, 2016
Could mindfulness and meditation be more powerful than opioids for lower back pain?

Mental disorders as risk factors for chronic pain in teenagers

October 8, 2015
One in four young people have experienced chronic pain and a mental disorder. According to a new report in the Journal of Pain, the onset of pain is often preceded by mental disorders: an above-average rate of incidence of ...

Recommended for you

Scientists a step closer to predicting epidemics

July 13, 2018
Ecologists at the University of Georgia have taken an important step in their efforts to develop an early warning system for infectious disease outbreaks.

Researchers identify target for novel malaria vaccine

July 13, 2018
A Yale-led team of researchers have created a vaccine that protects against malaria infection in mouse models, paving the way for the development of a human vaccine that works by targeting the specific protein that parasites ...

Higher income and being married protect older people from broken bones

July 13, 2018
Research led by scientists from the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit (MRC LEU) at the University of Southampton has shown that a higher income and being married reduces the risk of experiencing a broken ...

Gammaherpesviruses linked to tumors in macaques with simian immunodeficiency virus

July 12, 2018
Viruses known as gammaherpesviruses may raise the risk of cancer in macaques infected with Simian Immunodeficiency Virus or Simian Human Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV/SHIV), according to new research published by Vickie Marshall ...

Scientists find protein exploited by virus ravaging West Africa

July 12, 2018
A research team from several institutions being led by the University of California San Diego has deciphered a key component behind a rising epidemic of pathogens that the World Health Organization (WHO) recently added to ...

How a Mediterranean diet could reduce osteoporosis

July 11, 2018
Eating a Mediterranean-type diet could reduce bone loss in people with osteoporosis—according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.