Backache is the second major cause of employee absenteeism after common cold. Now, Susanna Annunen and her team from the University of Oulu in Finland report that inter-vertebral disk disease, also called sciatica, may well run in the families with a gene called COL9A2 that is responsible for the condition. Sciatica is a painful condition in the region of the lower back and hip, affecting about half of all people with serious back conditions. In many cases, it causes numbness, abnormal sensitivity and tingling. The scientists confirmed the theory by studying 26 unrelated people suffering from such back ache; all were found to carry such a gene. Further, when the family backgrounds of two such subjects were examined, it was found that all members of the two families who had inherited this gene had sciatica diagnoses. In the control group of 174 people, who did not have the disease, the gene was not found. Bone specialists say that this study explains why some people with unusually rigorous lifestyles never experience back problems while others with normal lifestyles unexpectedly develop serious back conditions ( Science , Vol 285, No 5426).
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.