aasStudy results suggest that hundreds of variants in a patient’s DNA sequence or genetic code may help predict which military service members are more likely to develop persistent, chronic pain after amputation.

The results were reportedly presented during the ANESTHESIOLOGY 2013 annual meeting. To conduct the study, researchers say they collected blood for DNA, RNA, and plasma extraction from 49 service members who had undergone amputations and had persistent pain.

A news release from the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) notes that researchers mapped the blood samples using Exome Sequencing technology in order to pinpoint any variations the military service members had in common. The researchers report in the release that hundreds of new DNA sequence variations previously unknown were identified as pathways of biological importance as the possible source of chronic, persistent pain for service members.

Andrew D. Shaw, MD, associate professor of anesthesiology, critical care medicine, Duke University Medical Center, notes that by identifying these “pain genes,” researchers may be able to determine the reasons behind why pain occurs and predict which patients are more likely to have it. Shaw adds that researchers have known about some “pain genes” in lab studies.

“Now that we have identified these gene variations, we need to study them and then create new medicines to prevent and relieve chronic pain in these patients,” Shaw says.

Source: American Society of Anesthesiologists