Why This Italian Family Does Not Experience Physical Pain?
Scientists have finally identified the mysterious genetic mutation that effectively negates the feeling of physical pain, allowing people who have this anomaly to penetrate painlessly through extreme physical discomfort.
The variation of the gene-identified in an Italian family that feels almost no pain even in severe injuries-could help scientists find new treatments for chronic pain that would have similar effects as the family’s status.
The Marsilli family lives on a state similar to “super-power”, thanks to a rare genetic mutation that has been spread in at least 3 generations. They feel very little or no pain of conditions like burns or fractures, and even sometimes they do not even notice that they are hurt.
Thus, for example, the 52-year-old Letizia broke her shoulder while skiing, but then she continued to ski all day and drove herself home, and checked the next day.
The variation dividing the family was isolated in their DNA from blood samples and located in the gene ZFHX2. While it is not entirely clear how the mutation works, a team of researchers assume that variation disrupts the way ZFHX2 regulates other genes associated with signaling pain.
Their phenotype is so significant that researchers have named an objective subspecies of the condition as “Marsilli Syndrome”. Mutations also affect their ability to detect extreme temperatures, putting them at greater risk of burning or frosting.