Generation Scotland

Pain and Depression

Case study in pain and depression

It is widely observed that diseases often don’t come in simple ones, but often two’s or three’s. The initial GP referral might be for obesity, but on investigation, diabetes is discovered, perhaps also with severe leg pain and depression. Due to the detailed questionnaire and clinic data we have in GS and the ability to link to routine medical records, we are well placed to look at these so-called co-morbid features of illness and hopefully to tease apart what comes first and which is a cause and which a consequence. A good example of this is a study of the link between pain and depression, which shows that both pain and depression are influenced by a multiplicity of overlapping genetic factors. Additionally, if one partner suffered chronic pain, their spouse had a high probability of also suffering, perhaps due to shared environment or lifestyle.

GS study ID: GS12119 McIntosh

Key reference: Genetic and environmental risk for chronic pain and the contribution of risk variants for major depressive disorder: a family-based mixed-model analysis. McIntosh, A. M., Hall, L. S., Zeng, Y., Adams, M. J., Gibson, J., Wigmore, E., … Hocking, L. J. (2016). PLoS Medicine 13(8), e1002090.