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Here’s why men and women process pain differently

The study published in the journal BRAIN could lead to better and more personalized treatments for chronic pain.

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Cool group of people, woman and man with sleepy expression, being overworked and tired, rubbes nose because of weariness
(Shift Drive via Shutterstock)

By Jim Leffman via SWNS

Men and women process pain signals differently, probably due to hormones, a new study reveals.

Researchers discovered for the first time that the way neurons in the spinal cord deal with the signals for pain depend on your sex.

The study published in the journal BRAIN could lead to better and more personalized treatments for chronic pain.

The team from Carleton University and the Ottawa Hospital used both donated human spinal cords as well as rat cords for their study.

Previous research showed that men and women experience pain differently but most pain research used male rodent spinal cords.

The new study used female rodent and human cords as well to discover where the difference lay.

They found a neuronal growth factor called BDNF plays a major role in amplifying spinal cord pain signalling in male humans and male rats, but not in female humans or female rats.

When female rats had their ovaries removed, the difference disappeared, pointing to a hormonal connection.

Dr. Annemarie Dedek, lead author of the study, said: "Developing new pain drugs requires a detailed understanding of how pain is processed at the biological level.

“This new discovery lays the foundation for the development of new treatments to help those suffering from chronic pain.”

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