A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge have discovered a rare genetic disorder. People with an inherited genetic disorder have been identified who suffer no physical pain because of mutation of a particular gene. Members of the family affected, are noticed to be numb to pain.Three related families in northern Pakistan have been identified with this disorder.
The research has been published by the journal, Nature. The study elucidates that this finding could be the forerunner of effective pain management.
Six people in all, who have this gene, have been identified by the researchers. All six denied having experienced physical pain, all their lives. One of them, a 10 year old, had infact been a street performer who could plunge knives into his arms, without feeling any pain at all.
A thorough neurological examination ruled out the presence of any disease associated with this genetic disorder. Palpable sensations apart from pain, like touch, difference in temperatures, pressure and tickling could be appreciated by the subjects. All the six people identified with this genetic mutation, had been subject to injuries in the past due to their genetic aberration. The scientists have identified the gene as the same one that causes sensory nerve cells to respond to stimuli , by controlling the passage of sodium through them.
Dr Geoffrey Woods one of the researchers commented that ,such rare disorders open the understanding of medical professionals to comprehend how biological and developmental processes offer cues for better cures.
Dr Wood also explained that another mutation of the same gene was earlier identified to cause hyper sensitivity to pain in some hereditary disorders.