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Partners of people with depression 'more likely' to have chronic pain

Chronic pain Image copyright Animated Healthcare Ltd/Science Photo Library

Partners of people with depression are more likely to suffer from chronic pain, a new study suggests.

Edinburgh University found chronic pain is caused partly by a person's genetic make-up and partly by as-yet-unidentified risk factors shared by partners in the same environment.

The team also identified significant overlaps between the risk factors for chronic pain and depression.

The scientists said chronic pain is a common cause of disability.

Major studies

Scientists hope the research will help explain why some people suffer from the condition and not others.

The study used data from more than 100,000 people taking part in the Generation Scotland and UK Biobank projects - major studies investigating genetic links to health conditions.

The results of the collaboration with Dundee, Aberdeen and Glasgow universities are published in the latest edition of the journal PLOS Medicine.

Prof Andrew McIntosh, chair of biological psychiatry at Edinburgh University, said: "We hope our research will encourage people to think about the relationship between chronic pain and depression, and whether physical and mental illnesses are as separate as some believe."

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