Scientists may have discovered a way to reset sensitivity to pain by manipulating genes, a new study has suggested.
The research was carried out at King’s College, London and involved 25 sets of identical twins, who share 100 per cent of their genetic material. Each participant was wired up to a heat probe on their arm and told to press a button when the temperature became unbearable to them.
It was found that pain thresholds differed even between the siblings – and at a genetic level, there were chemical changes within nine genes involved in pain reception that resulted in differing sensitivity.
Writing in the journal Nature Communications, lead researcher explained that this means genes could potentially be altered to make people less susceptible to the effects of injury or illness.
The finding is very exciting and could lead to a more effective pain relief treatment for patients suffering with chronic pain.
Last year, a study at the University of Copenhagen found that people who have been blind from birth are more sensitive to pain caused by thermal stimuli than their sighted counterparts.