Making some self-described "stupid moves" shifting stones for a sculpture landed Professor Zeev Seltzer with nine months of back pain and a more personal appreciation for the importance of his own field of research -- finding the genetic links to chronic pain.
Credit: U of T
"One of the things that really surprised me when I had chronic pain was the anger I felt towards my body that has failed me," Seltzer says. "You really feel this betrayal of the body and disappointment and you think, Why did it happen to me?"
Seltzers research shows that part of the answer may lie in genetics. His research team is among the first in the world to identify genes for chronic pain. It is a fledgling field: Seltzer, a Senior Canada Research Chair in Comparative Pain Genetics at the Faculty of Dentistry and the Centre for the Study of Pain, is aware of only one other group in Canada researching pain genetics and less than a handful in the rest of the world. The need for such research is vast, he says, noting that not only does pain involve incalculable human suffering, it is also a major economic burden estimated to cost the Canadian economy about $10 billion a year.
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