Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Award-winning study says back pain may be in your genes

09.04.2008
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.

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. 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, arguably the most prestigious annual award in musculoskeletal research.

“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-Battié 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-Battié, 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-Battié.

Kris Connor | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk

17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Only an atom thick: Physicists succeed in measuring mechanical properties of 2D monolayer materials

17.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Fraunhofer HHI receives AIS Technology Innovation Award 2018 for 3D Human Body Reconstruction

17.01.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>