Group Leader of the Neurobiology and Physiology group at Public Health England, Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards (PHE CRCE)

Is finding the common biological link(s) between pain and affect an infinity quest?

Scandinavian Journal of Pain July 2011 (Vol. 2, Issue 3, Pages 137-138)

Is finding the common biological link(s) between pain and affect an infinity quest?

Nora Bourbia, Antti Pertovaara

Institute of Biomedicine/Physiology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Clinical studies have demonstrated comorbidity between pain and depression or anxiety [1], [2]. The prevalence of depression in patients with chronic pain reaches 5–100%, the prevalence of anxiety disorder reaches 11–60%, and the prevalence of pain in patients with depression disorder reaches 15–100% depending on the study and type of pain [3], [4]. These comorbidities affect negatively the life of the patients. It is still not clear whether there is a causal relationship in the development of comorbidity between chronic pain and anxiety/depression or whether chronic pain and anxiety/depression have distinctly different mechanisms that coexist independent of each other. This question is not only of considerable academic interest but also of potential clinical importance when developing therapeutic interventions for the comorbid chronic pain and affective disorder.


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