Overdose drug makes woman who has never felt pain sensitive to a hot laser beam

Overdose drug makes woman who has never felt pain sensitive to a hot laser beam

According to scientists, after an experiment that leads to new ways of treating people who have chronic pain, a 39-year-old woman felt pain for the first time ever in her life. The woman, who wanted her name to remain hidden, was born with a condition due to which she never feel any kind of pain, but a drug, usually given for the treatment of drug addiction, made her responsive to a hot laser beam.

For the woman, the experience was good. Scientists mentioned that the woman ‘quite enjoyed’ the meekly painful sensation of getting heated by the laser. It was a novel experience for a person who has never felt any pain since she was an infant.

Every year, many people take birth with a genetic mutation that obstructs an ‘ion channel’ in the pain-sensing nerves. Babies, who take birth with blocked pain channels, require special care as they tend to eat their fingers, toes and lips until they bleed. Infants have the highest risk of damaging themselves by knocking and tumbling or coming in touch with hot or sharp objects.

The woman has inherited a mutation in a gene that obstructed an ion channel known as Nav1.7, which takes sodium ions throughout the nerve membrane and permits the pain signals’ transmission to the brain.

Laboratory mice that were genetically changed to lack the Nav1.7 gene also can’t feel pain. With the help of this, scientists developed an animal model of the human condition and while doing so they found a new way of treating chronic pain.


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