Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Back Pain May Be In Your Genes, Twin Study Suggests

Date:
April 9, 2008
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
What do you learn by looking at the spines of hundreds of Finnish twins? If you are the international team of researchers behind the Twin Spine Study, you find compelling proof that back pain problems may be more a matter of genetics than physical strain.

Office worker on left and truck driver on right, twins are 56 years old. High degrees of similarities in disc degeneration were noted between twin siblings, often despite high discordance in lifetime physical loading exposures.
Credit: In part from Spine, Batti et al 2004[55]

What do you learn by looking at the spines of hundreds of Finnish twins? If you are the international team of researchers behind the Twin Spine Study, you find compelling proof that back pain problems may be more a matter of genetics than physical strain.

Related Articles


The findings of the Twin Spine Study, an ongoing research program started in 1991, have led to a dramatic paradigm shift in the way disc degeneration is understood.

"In the past, the factors most commonly suspected of accelerating degenerative changes in the discs were various occupational physical loading conditions, such as handling of heavy materials, postural loading and vehicular vibration," said lead researcher Michele Crites-Battiι of the University of Alberta's Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.

Drawing on information from 600 participants in the population-based Finnish Twin Cohort--147 pairs of identical and 153 pairs of fraternal male twins--the Twin Spine Study has turned the dominant "injury model" approach to disc degeneration on its head. Researchers from Canada, Finland, the United States and the United Kingdom compared identical twin siblings who differed greatly in their exposure to a suspected risk factor for back problems; for example, one of the twins had a sedentary job while the other had heavy occupational physical demands, or one routinely engaged in occupational driving while the other did not. The studies yielded startling results, suggesting that genetics play a much larger role in disc degeneration than previously thought.

Despite extraordinary differences between identical twin siblings in occupational and leisure-time physical loading conditions throughout adulthood, surprisingly little effect on disc degeneration was observed. The findings indicated that while physical loading--handling heavy loads, bending, twisting and static work in awkward postures--appears to influence disc degeneration, the effects are very modest. During the course of the exposure-discordant twin studies, said Crites-Battiι, the observation that struck anyone who viewed the twin sibling images side-by-side was the strong resemblance in disc degeneration, not only in the degree of degeneration, but also in the types of findings and spinal levels involved.

The Twin Spine Study is far from over: having found evidence that genetics may play an overlooked role in disc degeneration, the team of North American and European is now working to identify the specific genes and biological mechanisms influencing disc degeneration and back pain problems; understanding how degeneration progresses over time; and differentiating normal, inconsequential changes from degenerative changes that lead to pain.

"This advance in the understanding of disc degeneration provides a foundation from which to develop new hypotheses and more fruitful research that may help shed light on one of the most common and costly musculoskeletal conditions facing the developed countries of the world," said Crites-Battiι.

Last month a paper presenting an overview of the Twin Spine Study's multidisciplinary investigation into the root causes of disc degeneration received a Kappa Delta Award from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Back Pain May Be In Your Genes, Twin Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080408160636.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2008, April 9). Back Pain May Be In Your Genes, Twin Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080408160636.htm
University of Alberta. "Back Pain May Be In Your Genes, Twin Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080408160636.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) — NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) — A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) — Colorado may have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the debate around the decision still continues, with a recent - failed - attempt to ban cannabis-infused edibles. Duration: 01:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) — The British ship RFA ARGUS arrived in Sierra Leone to deliver supplies and equipment to help the fight against Ebola. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins