Jo Cameron, a 71-year-old Scottish woman, did not need to take painkillers after visiting the dentist and can get spicy Scotch Bonnet chilis eat without discomfort.
She thought little about it until she was treated for a hip problem at the age of 65. The doctors were astonished to discover she did not hurt despite severe joint damage.
One year later, she said she had no pain after undergoing a very painful surgery on her hand for osteoarthritis.
Her doctors decided to analyze whether her lack of sensitivity to pain was genetic, and found that she was caused by a mutation in a previously unidentified gene.
"Until a few years ago, I had no idea that there was something unusual about how little pain I feel. I just thought it was normal, "Cameron said in a press release.
In a case study published on Thursday, researchers said the discovery may help direct new treatments for a range of disorders, from postoperative pain to anxiety  "The implications for these outcomes are immense," said Dr. Devjit Srivastava, co-author of the study and consultant for anesthesia and pain medicine in a public hospital in northern Scotland, diagnosed Cameron.
"Every second patient has a post the surgery today continues to show moderate to severe pain, despite advances in analgesics, "he added.
" The results indicate a novel analgesic discovery that could potentially provide postoperative pain relief and accelerate wound healing, we hope that help the 330 million patients who operate worldwide each year
Cameron told the researchers she has a long history of painless injuries. Sometimes she does not notice that she was burned until she smells her singed flesh.
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The researchers also found that Cameron was an optimist, with the lowest score on a common anxiety score. She said that she never panics even in dangerous situations like a recent traffic accident.
The researchers said that there may be more people with the same mutation because Cameron did not know her condition until her 60s.
With infrequent pain insensitivity can be valuable for medical research as we learn how their genetic mutations affect pain perception. Therefore, we would encourage anyone who is not in pain to come forward, "said James Cox, a lecturer at University College London
The researchers found that Cameron had two notable mutations in their genetic make-up, one in the FAAH gene and one another in what the scientists called FAAH-OUT, which has been little studied by scientists.
"Now that we discover how this newly identified gene works, we hope to make further progress in new treatment goals," said Cox.
Dr Frances Williams, a professor of genomic epidemiology at King & # 39; s College London, which was not involved in the research, described the study as "really important."
She said FAAH "was already the target of several clinical trials," but the latest research tells us more about the FAAH-OUT, "It could be a more effective method of creating a painkiller," she said.
Edmund Keogh, a professor of psychology at the University of Bath, said the pain was "helpful and functional" between individuals.
We need to learn from people who suffer from pain, but also from people who are less sensitive to pain, "said Keogh, who is also deputy director of the Center for Pain Research University is.
The study said that Cameron's mother and daughter usually experience pain normally. Her late father, however, hardly needed any painkillers, and her son reported a certain lack of pain, but not as much as she did.
She takes no medication and is fit and active, with no medical conditions other than arthritis.
"I would be delighted if exploring my own genetics could help other sufferers," she said.