’During one Scottish woman’s lifetime, she has broken bones, burned her skin, and undergone surgery without feeling any pain—and she didn’t realize she’d been experiencing anything unusual until she was well into her 60s, according to a new case study.
Scientists are interested in people who feel little pain, as they hope to find ways to help those who do suffer from it. In this case, the woman had visited the hospital for a “normally painful” hand surgery but didn’t require any painkillers afterward. Thinking that seemed odd, a team of researchers were able to pinpoint her condition as linked to a pair of genetic mutations.
The woman had previously been diagnosed with arthritis in her hip, which she didn’t feel despite the “severe degree of joint degeneration,” according to the paper. She lived a long life of painlessness before realizing something strange was happening, reporting dental surgeries without anesthesia, painless cuts and broken bones, and even burns in which it took smelling her charred flesh to notice something was amiss. She even told the researchers she could eat scotch bonnet chili peppers with no effects other than a “‘pleasant glow’ in her mouth.” Oh, and she rarely felt any sort of anxiety, depression, fear, or panic—not even during a recent car accident, according to the paper.…’