Some ten years ago, TV host Oprah Winfrey met with an unusual 5-year-old girl on her show. She was born with a genetic mutation, rare to the extent of nonexistence. Her genetic mutation allowed her to lead a painless life, in that, she felt no pain whatsoever. When Gabby was baby, her parents noticed that she would often chew her fingers, even mutilate them. Eventually, they decided to pull her teeth because she would chew on her tongue. But she would feel no pain, it was for her own safety.
She leads a painless life due to her unusual condition called congenital insensitivity to pain. While this condition allowed her to live a painless life, it is actually very dangerous and could be fatal in some cases. We feel pain for a reason, it’s not just torture. It’s a warning signal from the brain which tends to protect us from burns, cuts and bruises etc. Moreover, it is important because it keeps us from harm. For example, we know something must be wrong when we feel a headache, or stomachache, or pain in muscles and bones etc. Without feeling pain, we could potentially let many serious things slide. On the other hand, there are some pains that need a painless life such as cancer patients, or others who may prefer subduing pain temporarily and quickly such as people who suffer from migraine attacks, and for them such a condition would be Godsend. So scientists in the UK, using genetically modified mice, in the University College London, U.K. have been trying to unlock the secrets of a painless life, and they seem to have found a recipe.
The research was published in the journal Nature (please read for scientific aspects of the discovery), and it reveals that the researchers were successfully able to recreate the effects of congenital insensitivity to pain under laboratory conditions, allowing for a person to potentially lead a painless life. Professor John Wood, the senior researcher, stated that Nav1.7 is a key element in human pain. Nav1.7 is a channel that is used to transfer pain signals. He further said that human testing could begin as early as 2017 and upon successful tests, the research will expand to cover drug combinations that could potentially help millions around the world who suffer from chronic pain.You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ for more updates. Otherwise fill in the subscription box above, or subscribe to our RSS Feed.