| chronic pain

The Male and Female Experience of Pain

The Brain's Pleasure Chemical Hits Sexes Differently

An article in the Neuron journal looked at neural mechanisms of pain severity and response as they relate to gender. Do men and women feel pain differently? If yes, why? If they do, should they receive different types of pain relief? In past studies of neural pathways, only male mice were included. The addition of females shows that each gender does perceive pain in their own way. The study also provides “evidence of a novel ascending circuit for pain relief in males and contextual locomotor response in females.”

Although the current study from of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine does include female mice, still more research is needed. Coauthor Thomas Kash, PhD, commented, “We hope to investigate how this pathway can regulate more emotional behaviors associated with chronic pain, and then also look at the dynamics of the system, such as how this pathway works in real time during behavior measurements. These neurons are also implicated in the actions of opioids such as morphine, so we plan to investigate that domain, as well.”


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