Pain is something that the vast majority of us just have to deal with, and sometimes on a daily basis. Being unable to feel pain is almost inconceivable, but it is life that a woman in Scotland has lived for 66 years. She does not notice cuts, burns and even surgery does not register with her, and she has lived all her life and it was quite normal.
Her case, published in the British Journal of Anesthesia only got doctors' attention after she had returned from orthopedic hand surgery without reported pain. As with all patients, she received a number of painkillers while the operation was performed, but even after the drugs were worn, she reported absolutely no pain. It was when doctors realized that something was wrong.
The woman's pain score after surgery was a "0/1
After entering the woman's medical history, the doctors realized that she had never complained of any kind of pain of any kind, including after various operations. She told the researchers that she had a history of "painless injuries", including broken bones and burns, which she only discovered by smelling her burning flesh, but pain was never included.
According to the report, the rest of the family considers its pain usually with the exception of her son, who has "some degree of pain insensitivity" but nothing compared to her mother. The woman also has no history of anxiety or depression, and scored zero on all mental health questionnaires that indicate zero symptoms. A recent car accident with which she was involved has not phased her and she does not know what panic feels.
An investigation of her genes seems to have given the explanation to all this. Scientists note that she has a microdeletion in her DNA, as well as an abnormal FAAH gene, which has been associated with varying degrees of pain-insensitivity in others.
The researchers suggest that the woman's "genomic rearrangement" is likely to be more common than we think, and that it is likely that there are others who live painlessly without actually realizing how special it is. It took 66 years to find the patient in question, and she is probably not alone.