A lifetime spent successfully avoiding any and all manners of pain may sound like a pipe dream, but for just two known people on the planet with a certain genetic mutation, it's a peculiar reality.
Jo Cameron of northern Scotland didn't really give much thought to what turned out to be a rare genetic mutation until, as detailed in a BBC News report, doctors expressed shock at her lack of a need for post-operation painkillers. Now, Jo's condition is part of a British Journal of Anaesthesia-published paper and is being utilized by researchers as another building block in science's exploration of pain prevention methods.
"You are what you are, until someone points it out you don't question it," the 71-year-old woman said. "I was just a happy soul who didn't realize there was anything different about me."
As the paper explains, Cameron told doctors she didn't require painkillers to be prescribed following a "normally painful" orthopedic hand surgery. Following some referrals to specialists, it was ultimately determined that Cameron had actually exhibited a "lifelong history of painless injuries" including cuts and burns. Additionally, those unfelt injuries appeared to heal with a noticeable quickness.
Cameron, who also says she avoided experiencing pain during childbirth, joked that she now has an "excuse" for being forgetful and happy her entire life.
And there could be even more people like Cameron out in the world, a possibility that's also at the center of the newly published paper's aim. Ultimately, researchers hope to make gains towards the identification of new human-validated analgesic drug targets for those with postoperative or chronic pain.