Imagine you could go through life stubbing your toe on the sidewalk and continuing to stroll on by like nothing happened. Getting a paper cut and carrying on with your reading. Hitting your funny bone on your desk and not doing that awkward holds-elbow-in-pain motion while mouthing “son of a—!”
How about getting a tattoo and barely feeling the needles? Cutting your finger while making dinner and not having to get stitches? Going through CHILD BIRTH without so much of a wince?
It’s possible. Meet Jo Cameron, the woman who has lived 71 years so far and has never had to feel any kind of physical pain. And she never even knew until she was 65.
It was then when she underwent an operation that should’ve left her in excruciating pain, but didn’t. After the doctor suggested getting her DNA checked, they found that due to a genetic mutation, Jo is literally incapable of feeling pain. Doctors also discovered that she has extremely low stress and depression levels, likely linked to her inability to feel physical pain.
Sounds like something out of a sci-fi flick, huh?
The reason for this is that Jo has two mutations (a ‘mutant gene,’ if you will) that, when combined, has the ability to completely suppress pain and consequently boost her levels of happiness.
The first mutation—one that isn’t insanely uncommon—is called FAAH, which produces an enzyme that breaks down anandamide. Jo has DOUBLE the amount of anandamide as an average human does. That makes sense since anandamide is responsible for your pain sensations, memory, and sense of mood.
The second mutation is what really shocked doctors. It was a missing part of a DNA gene that scientists have never heard of before Jo. What’s now referred to as the FAAH-OUT gene is something that controls the FAAH gene.
Scientists believe that her mutations were passed down to her genetically through her father (who has since passed on, so it’s hard to confirm). Jo’s son also carries the gene mutation, so researchers hope the two might be able to help in the future development for advancing pain medications.
Jo believes that there are other people out there like her who may not know whether they can feel pain or not. Remember, she had no idea for 65 years that she couldn’t feel pain! She’s hoping that her discovery can help others in this situation.
“There may be more like me who are out there that haven’t realized what is different about them,” she said. “If they go and help out with the experiments, it may do something to get people off manmade painkillers and on to more natural ways of relieving pain.”
To hear Jo talk about her case—and all the seemingly painful things she has experienced in her life where she didn’t feel much if anything at all—check out the video.
How insane is it that Jo can’t feel pain? Did you ever think something like this was possible?