Pain paranoia

Published: Friday 31 March 2000

New research suggests that diminished pain perception may be a symptom of hypertension. Using mechanical, electrical and temperature stimulation, Christopher France, a psychologist at Ohio University in Athens, Greece, found that pain detection had, in fact, decreased in children of hypertensive parents. Although family history is used to predict the onset of high blood pressure, most children of hypertensive parents do not exhibit the condition. The association between hypertension and lowering of pain perception, a condition known as hypoalgesia, could well serve as a sign of potential hypertension and help prevent fatality, claims France (Psychophysiology, Vol 36, No 11).

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