While news channels and websites continue exploding with more and more stories on the opioid epidemic, there are some unique individuals in the world, like 71-year-old Jo Cameron from Scotland, who is completely resistant to pain and anxiety.
And while most of us continuously suffer from different painful conditions the older we get, she has never taken a painkiller in her entire life, even when she had to go through surgery and labor.
Why Is Jo’s Case So Unique?
The New York Times reports that, in an interview with Jo, she compared childbirth to “a tickle”. It wasn’t until she was 65, however, when she refused to take analgesic medications during a reconstructive hand surgery that doctors noticed her strange “superpower”.
Since then, Jo’s case was published in several scientific journals, and not long ago, scientists managed to find the reason behind her strange condition. It turns out that Jo has a unique gene mutation, never-encountered before. At present, there are several documented cases of curious individuals who experience no pain, but none of the cases that were studied during the past decades had the same genetic mutation.
It turns out that Jo has an altered FAAH gene, which was previously linked to anxiety. The mutation makes her not only insensitive to pain, but also unable to experience nervousness, thrill and anxiety. Apart from that, her body heals much quicker than that of an ordinary person, and all of the burns, cuts and bruises she gets leave virtually no scars.
How Can Jo Cameron’s Case Help Medical Science?
Scientist believe that the insight they got from Jo’s case may help them develop a brand new type of painkillers that could potentially be significantly more effective and have no side effects.
Miraculously, the same drug could potentially also help people suffering from anxiety and depression, as on the anxiety scale from 0 to 21 during a doctor’s examination, Jo got 0. On top of that, she cannot recall ever feeling nervous or depressed.
Should We All Want This Gene Mutation?
People like Jo have problems of their own. In fact, pain insensitivity may be very dangerous, as individuals with this condition often don’t notice when they get traumatized or suffer from a condition that usually gets diagnosed early because it is so painful.
In the end, pain is necessary because it is a protective mechanism; it indicates that something is wrong with the body, be it a regular bruise or something more serious. It is only when certain people experience too much pain that it needs to be suppressed.
Proof of that can be seen in the same category of pain-insensitive individuals, where it is often the case that pain-insensitive children cannot learn to avoid dangerous situations and often suffer from severe injuries. Luckily, these human anomalies are often hereditary, and parents already know how to teach their children to protect themselves. In fact, Jo is no different.
She believes her dad had the same unique gene mutation, as he never took painkillers. Her son, too, has inherited part of the genetic mutation, and he shares some of Jo’s pain insensitivity. To see an interview with Jo and she perceives her condition, watch the video below.