US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — A sense of physical pain is necessary for survival, but there are people on the planet who do not feel pain. Scientists are trying to understand why this is happening, writes National Geographic.
Congenital insensitivity to pain is a rare disease, but it is found all over the planet. According to experts, currently about a million people not able to feel physical pain, and this deviation brings a lot of problems to a person.
First of all, children who still do not know how to control their body suffer: they can bite off a piece of their tongue and not notice it. People with this disorder break bones more often than others. They also cannot consult a doctor on time, both in case of trauma and with the usual pain signal of a sick organism.
Over the years of research, scientists have found that insensitivity to pain is a consequence of genetic disorders. GenesSCN9A, PRDM12 and others, mutating, block the transmission of electrical signals along the nerves. Sometimes naloxone and other opioid antagonists help people who do not feel pain, but a universal treatment method has not yet been developed.
The study of this phenomenon continues. The most famous “patients”live in the village Vittangi in northern Sweden: more than 40 cases have been reported here. Obviously, the mutated gene (in this case, NGFß) is inherited.
Genetics studied hereditary insensitivity to pain on the example of the Italian family Marsalis (Marsilis). All six people – a 78-year-old woman, her two daughters, and three grandchildren – instead of pain, experience subtle discomfort. X-ray images showed that they all have many fractures that were not even suspected.
According to the result of studying the genomes, a mutation was found in the ZFHX2 gene. ZFHX2 controls the work of 16 other genes, some of which are responsible for the perception of pain. To test the mechanism of its work, geneticists performed a series of experiments on mice, mutating the ZFHX2 mutation.
Scientists hope that they will be able to find ways of treatment for all people with a similar deviation. In addition, further research in this area will create effective and safe painkillers.
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