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Gene Identified For Back Pain

Date: 5.11.2012 

Medical News Today, 26 Sep 2012: Researchers at King's College London have for the first time identified a gene linked to age-related degeneration of the intervertebral discs in the spine, a common cause of lower back pain. Kredit: CLIPAREA.com - Fotolia.com

Costing the UK an estimated ?7billion a year due to sickness leave and treatment costs, the causes of back pain are not yet fully understood. Until now, the genetic cause of lower back pain associated with lumbar disc degeneration (LDD) was unknown, but the largest study to date, published this week in the journal Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, has revealed an association with the PARK2 gene.

The researchers, funded by the Wellcome Trust and Arthritis Research UK, say more research into this surprising association needs to be carried out in order to fully understand how it is triggered, but this new finding could ultimately pave the way towards developing new treatments in the future.

LDD is a common age-related trait, with over a third of middle-aged women having at least one degenerate disc in the spine. Discs become dehydrated, lose height and the vertebrae next to the discs develop bony growths called osteophytes. These changes can cause or contribute to lower back pain. LDD is inherited in between 65 - 80 per cent of people with the condition, suggesting that genes play a key role...


 

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