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A Scottish woman lived her whole life without pain, thinking it was normal



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Photo: Don Harder (Flickr)

While a Scottish woman was alive, she broke bones, burned her skin, and underwent surgery without feeling any pain – and she did not know she had To experience something unusual until she was in her 60s, according to a new case study.

Scientists are interested in people who have little pain as they hope to find ways to help those who suffer from it. In this case, the woman had visited the hospital for a "normally painful" hand operation, but did not need any painkillers afterwards. Thought this seemed strange, a team of researchers could locate their condition as a pair of genetic mutations.

The woman had previously been diagnosed with hip arthritis, which despite the "severe degree did not feel the common degeneration," states the work. She lived a long life without pain before realizing that something strange was happening, reporting on dental surgeries without anesthesia, painless cuts and fractures, and even burns that smelled of her having to smell her charred flesh to discover something not true. She even told the researchers that she could eat scotch cap chili peppers without her having a "pleasant glow" in her mouth. "Oh, and she rarely felt any kind of anxiety, depression, anxiety or panic – not even during a recent car accident, according to the newspaper.

Her doctors advised her to speak to the Pain Genre Team at University College London Sequencing their children, their children, and their mother's genome and asking them about their pain tolerance.The culprit appeared to be a small set of missing DNA in the FAAH-OUT "pseudogene," essentially degraded versions of fully functional genes that were once called "garbage." The woman also had a single switched nucleotide (the DNA building blocks) in her FAAH gene, which is responsible for an enzyme called fatty acid amide hydrolase. Previous studies have also shown that that people with small variations of their FAAH gene are less afraid and have less pain.

Now the researchers hope to have this part of our Exploring genomes to help people suffering from chronic pain and anxiety, the study said The newspaper was published in the British Journal of Anesthesia.

"It's really exciting to work with rare patients with insensitivity to pain and hopefully identify new analgesic drug targets as a result of this work," says study author James Cox, a lecturer at The Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research at University College London told Gizmodo.

The article notes that previous drug trials that attempted to stop the pain by inhibiting FAAH production were unsuccessful. However, it might be a better strategy to target FAAH-OUT pseudogen instead.

This is just a case study after all, and there is still much to do before we can declare victory over the pain. This is not the only part of the genome associated with pain. Other genes also seem to influence people's sense of pain, as in the case of Italian professor Letizia Marsili. Marsili feels no pain due to a mutation in her ZFHX2 gene.

Pain, of course, serves an important purpose – it would be shitty to find out that you were on fire because of the smell of your own burning flesh. However, pain, especially chronic pain, can significantly affect a person's quality of life and new pain relief strategies are urgently needed. Cox hopes that with the help of gene editing technology, scientists will soon be able to develop new therapies to treat this age-old disease.


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