Alcohol Researchers Identify a Genetic Basis of Pain Response

A common genetic variant influences individual responses and adaptation to pain and other stressful stimuli and may underlie vulnerability to many psychiatric and other complex diseases, reports David Goldman, M.D., Chief, Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and colleagues at NIAAA and the University of Michigan. COMT val158met Genotype Affects m-Opioid Neurotransmitter Responses to a Pain Stressor appears in the February 21 issue of Science.

Depression more deadly for elderly men than women

Depression is more dangerous for elderly men than women, with depression starting in old age representing the greatest risk for men, according to a long-term study. “Depression may be an early sign of impending physical decline,” says study author Kaarin Anstey, Ph.D., of the Center for Mental Health Research at Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. “Or it may incur a physiological response that predisposes individuals to cardiovascular disease or cancer.”