A 71 Year Old Woman’s Genetic Mutation Could Lead to Painkiller Advancements

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A 71 year old woman by the name of Jo Cameron has an old condition with a new cause. Throughout her entire life, she’s never experienced anxiety or pain.

Even during childbirth, all she reportedly felt was a tickling sensation. It was over 40 years later when she learned this was unusual.

Now, science may have an answer. The nigh pain-free life Jo lives may be “due to a mutation in a previously unidentified gene” (New York Times). This mutation is also why Jo feels little anxiety and heals so quickly.

Because Jo cannot feel the pain that warns her of hot things, she burns herself constantly. According to her, the scars usually don't last, which is something scientists may find useful for burn treatment.
Because Jo cannot feel the pain that warns her of hot things, she burns herself constantly. According to her, the scars usually don’t last, which is something scientists may find useful for burn treatment.

Jo’s case is something scientists have never heard of, so this matter is raising incredible excitement. A study of Jo’s case could lead to important advancements in painkillers, stress medication, and expedited healing medication.

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The potential of new medications could affect everything from basic prescription medicine to surgery.

Stories like Jo remind engineers to look for inspiration everywhere. A normal-looking 71 year old woman may hold the key to better medications, and in the future, a different one may hold the secret to immortality. We may never know.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/28/health/woman-pain-anxiety.html