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Woman with gene mutation feels almost no pain: researchers

She often didn't notice cuts or burns

SAMAA | - Posted: Mar 28, 2019 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Mar 28, 2019 | Last Updated: 2 years ago

She often didn't notice cuts or burns

Photo: The Guardian/ Mark Pinder

A woman in Scotland who can feel virtually no pain has a mutation in a previously-unidentified gene, according to UK researchers.

Jo Cameron, who lives near Loch Ness in the Highlands, also experiences very little anxiety or fear and may have enhanced wound healing.

The 71-year-old said throughout her life she often did not notice cuts or burns until she could smell burning flesh, and injuries tended to heal very quickly, The Independent reported.

UK researchers have discovered Cameron’s remarkable abilities are apparently down to a previously unreported genetic mutation. The case, published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia, could open the door for a host of new treatments to help people recover from surgery, manage chronic pain and anxiety disorders.

She was given the lowest score on a common anxiety scale, and told researchers she never panics, even in dangerous situations such as a recent traffic incident.

Related: Six teenagers arrested for vandalising Islamic school in the UK

But she also reported memory lapses throughout her life, such as forgetting words or keys, which has previously been associated with enhanced endocannabinoid signalling.

She said: “I had no idea until a few years ago that there was anything that unusual about how little pain I feel – I just thought it was normal.

“Learning about it now fascinates me as much as it does anyone else.

“I would be elated if any research into my own genetics could help other people who are suffering.”

She only found out about the condition when she was 65 and sought treatment for an issue with her hip, which turned out to involve severe joint degeneration although she had experienced no pain.

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