While pain is obviously something all humans seek to avoid, it’s also a helpful reminder of our biological limitations and a warning of greater harm. But for a 71-year-old Scottish woman named Jo Cameron, pain was never even an option.
When she was 65, a doctor who had treated her for an operation that should have left her with excruciating pain but didn’t decided to have Cameron’s DNA checked. Sure enough, they found that she was virtually incapable of feeling pain — both physical and psychological/emotional.
Now, in a paper published in The British Journal of Anaesthesia, researchers discovered that Cameron’s pain-free condition was caused by a rare mutation in her gene that had previously not been identified. The finding is a breakthrough that researchers hope will eventually lead to improved treatment options for patients suffering from chronic pain.