A team of researchers from MediUni Vienna, in collaboration with scientists from University of Cambridge and University of Munich have discovered the gene that makes people feel pain.
The scientists made the discovery while studying patients who suffer from a rare congenital genetic mutation which doesn’t allow them to feel any type of pain.
Although it may seem ideal to not be able to feel any pain, experts say it’s not that fabulous and the consequences of such a rare disorder are more serious than it may seem.
Having the condition where the patient cannot feel any physical pains means that diseases and injuries can go undetected for a very long time.
The researchers discovered the pain gene while studying two children affected by the rare condition and could not feel any pain since they were born.
Michaela Auer-Grumbach, a researcher at the University Department of Orthopaedics at the Medical University of Vienna, explained that the children, because they cannot feel any pain, are susceptible to bone fractures, and are at risk of biting their tongue, lips and fingers, without feeling anything. In some cases, the children even bit small pieces of their own body.
Because their inability to perceive pain, those who suffer from this condition can sustain burns, injuries and fractures which can heal slowly because the sufferers are not aware of them.
If left untreated, some of these injuries can prove fatal, the doctors say.
The researchers wanted to find out what causes this rare condition, so they analyzed the entire exome of the patients who suffer from it.
They analyzed every section of the patients’ genetic material, which encode proteins.
They found that there was a mutation in the gene called PRDM12.
Jan Senderek, a scientist at the University of Munich, explained that by identifying mutations in the same gene in two persons who are not related to each other, but have a very similar conditions, means that they have discovered the gene that causes the condition.
Geoffrey Woods, researcher at the University of Cambridge, also identified mutations in the gene PRDM12.
The researchers detailed their findings in the journal Nature Genetics.
Michaela Auer-Grumbach explained that by finding what causes this rare disorder, the scientists can help the patients who suffer from it.
Also, by understanding the condition that causes the inability to feel pain, the scientists hope to develop new and more efficient painkiller medications.
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