10 posts from August, 2017

The “chicken-and-egg” relationship between pain and depression

Posted August 4th, 2017 by

Fifty percent of people with chronic pain also have depression, pain management experts say. And more than 75 percent of patients with depression report pain-related symptoms (such as headaches, stomach pain, neck and back pain), according to the World Health Organization. The pain/depression connection raises a lot of questions for some people who experience both: Which came first: pain or depression? Does one cause the other? How can they be treated? We’re exploring the link between mental and physical health and what your community has reported on PatientsLikeMe.

Link between pain and depression

“Completely intertwined”

Chelsey Engel, a writer for The Mighty, says the vicious pain/depression cycle is a mystery that she’s not sure how to solve. Chronic migraines, neck and shoulder pain caused her to stop doing yoga, which she previously practiced to help manage her mental health.

“So not only are you missing the things that once gave you life, you’re also missing yourself,” she says. “You also now have two conditions to treat – pain and depression – that are separate in one way but completely intertwined in another.

The New York Times also recently shed light on the overlap of mental and physical health, and found that modern medicine often falls short in treating both together, so it’s sometimes left up to patients and caregivers to ask questions and connect the dots for their doctors and therapists. Explore some options for treating both.

“Keep in mind that human beings are not divided into two different organisms: a physical one and an emotional one,” Jane E. Brody writes. “Mind and body are a single construct with two-way communication, and what happens in the body below the head can – and often does – affect the brain and vice versa.” In fact, studies have shown that depression symptoms may interfere with our nervous system pathways and allow more pain sensation to reach the brain.

On PatientsLikeMe

Everyone’s experience of pain mingling with depression is different, but there are some interesting findings in the PatientsLikeMe community. Our Data Science Team recently shared these insights:

  • For nearly all conditions on PatientsLikeMe, pain and depressed mood show some positive correlation – more severe pain and more severe depressed mood tend to happen together.
  • For some frequently reported conditions on the site (such as migraine and Crohn’s disease), this association is relatively high.
  • For some others (like PTSD), there’s an association, but it’s relatively low.
  • Some conditions like lupus are in between the extremes.

Of course, the relationship between these pain and depressive symptoms is not easy to understand. Pain could cause a downturn in mood, but both symptoms could have some other root cause.

Have you experienced chronic pain “intertwined” with depression? Share your experiences here and join the community to talk about your your condition, symptoms and treatments.

Share this post on Twitter and help spread the word.


PatientsLikeMe names Greg Ploussios Senior Vice President and General Counsel

Posted August 2nd, 2017 by

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., August 2, 2017PatientsLikeMe announced today that it has named Greg Ploussios to the newly-created role of Senior Vice President and General Counsel. Prior to joining PatientsLikeMe, Ploussios served as the company’s outside counsel for over a decade, advising and negotiating PatientsLikeMe’s licensing, collaboration and commercial agreements and representing the company in equity financing, mergers and acquisitions, and other corporate matters, including its recent financing and partnership with iCarbonX. As Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Ploussios will take a more active role in overseeing PatientsLikeMe’s legal needs, including licensing, collaboration and commercial agreements, equity financing, privacy, and regulatory compliance.

Before joining PatientsLikeMe, Ploussios was a partner at Foley Hoag LLP in the business department, where he co-chaired the firm’s Licensing & Strategic Alliance Practice. Prior to that he was a partner at Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP. Ploussios’s practice has focused on representing information technology, software, Internet, bioinformatics, and medical device clients with an emphasis on licensing and commercial transactions, as well as venture capital and private equity investments and general corporate representation. Ploussios has advised numerous technology startups as well as more mature companies, including PTC, Delphi Technology, Nlyte Software, Karen Clark & Company, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing. Ploussios started his legal career in 1996 as a summer associate at Palmer & Dodge LLP.

“What I love about Greg is he’s a lawyer who codes for fun. His unique mix of technical knowledge and legal acumen has made him an invaluable advisor over the years,” said Co-Founder and President Ben Heywood. “He’ll be an even greater asset as a partner in the business as we explore new frontiers where ethical, legal and regulatory questions converge.”

Ploussios holds a Juris Doctor from Boston University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan, with a double major in English and Political Science. He resides in Newton, Massachusetts.

About PatientsLikeMe

PatientsLikeMe, the world’s largest personalized health network, helps people find new options for treatments, connect with others, and take action to improve their outcomes. The company has worked with every major pharmaceutical company and a range of government organizations to bring the patient voice to research, development and public policy. With more than 500,000 members, PatientsLikeMe is a trusted source for real-world disease information and a clinically robust resource that has published more than 100 research studies. Visit us at www.patientslikeme.com or follow us via our blog, Twitter or Facebook.