- A 71-year-old woman named Jo Cameron said she has been living with a condition that allows her to feel minimal pain and anxiety.
- Cameron said that she felt minimal pain during childbirth and during multiple surgeries.
- Researchers believe that her condition is a result of a pseudogene known as “FAAH-OUT.”
For her entire life,71-year-old Jo Cameron has been living with the miraculous ability to feel minimal pain, anxiety, and sadness, according to the New York Times.
Cameron, who is from Scotland, said her condition allows her to enjoy eating Scotch Bonnet chilli peppers, known for being extremely spicy, simply with a “pleasant glow” in her mouth. Cameron also told the New York Tims that she found childbirth to be like “a tickle” – even without an epidural.
Throughout her life, Cameron said she has experienced cuts, burns and broken limbs, which have caused almost unnoticeable pain, and that she has also never felt anxiety and depression, according to The New York Times.
Despite having lived unaware as to how intensely others can experience these feelings, a relatively recent medical procedure alerted doctors to Cameron’s case
A few years ago, Cameron was admitted to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, Scotland, in order for doctors to perform an operation on her hand.
Once she was admitted to the hospital, she discussed pain relief with Dr. Devjit Srivastava, who would later go on to be a researcher in the study, according to The New York Times. Cameron told Srivastava she was sure she wouldn’t need anything for pain management.
Even more remarkably, the only pain relief that Cameron relied upon after a hip replacement she had earlier was paracetamol, a drug to used to treat pains like mild headaches. Her hip had been “severely degenerated” before she noticed there was any issue at all, according to the Times.
Testing revealed a clue in Cameron’s genetic make-up, according to a new study
Researchers think a pseudogene known as “FAAH-OUT” is responsible for Cameron’s symptoms, including her body’s ability to rapidly heal, and most notably, her ability to not feel the full extent of pain. An author of the academic paper, James Cox described Cameron’s condition as a “deletion that removes the front of the gene.”
The study also notes Cameron’s ability to avoid feelings of anxiety and depression.
She’s described as being “talkative and happy with an optimistic outlook,” and when undertaking a test that indicates depression in individuals, Cameron scored an incredibly low 0/29, as well as an equally low 0/21 on a test designed to identify anxiety disorders.
The “FAAH-OUT” gene was previously unknown, according to The Guardian, so this has resulted in researchers suggesting that the findings from this paper could lead to new kinds of pain treatments for people with chronic pain or anxiety disorders.
Cameron has also acknowledged the difficulties she has faced, including frequent forgetfulness. She has described often not realising when she is hurting herself, for example.
As The New York Times noted, there have been several cases of children with similar conditions as Cameron. Their parents have expressed fear that the kids will hurt themselves and not know it.
Cameron said she believes that her father, who is dead, also had the same condition, and that’s why her parents did not share the same concern. The study also revealed that Cameron’s mother and daughter do not have the same mutated gene; however, her son is also reported to also have “some degree of pain insensitivity.”
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