Throughout everyday life, there are occasional accidents that cause pain, like with a stubbed toe or a coffee spill. But for one Italian family, the Marsili’s, such experiences never happen because they are almost immune to pain. The family has a rare genetic mutation that impedes them to feel pain, regardless of how severe the injury.
The Rare Genetic Mutations of This Italian Family
Recently, scientists were able to identify this genetic anomaly. With this, the scientists are hoping to find a cure for chronic pain by mimicking the mutation.
A biologist that works in the University College in London, James Cox, said in an interview that they, “have spent several years,” attempting to, “identify the gene”. He continues by pointing out that the particular disorder may be one unique to this single family.
The mutation has been handed down for years, as each family member presented the genetic ZFHX2 in their DNA. This was collected and isolated from their blood.
The scientists have been able to figure out what the mutation is. They also theorize that the variant is a disruption to standard signals of pain. Still, the specialists are yet to have a clear idea of how the mutation works.
The case of this Italian family is so unique, that scientists gave this sub-type of the mutation the moniker, “Marsili Syndrome”, which is named for the family.
Although the ability to not feel pain may seem like an enviable superpower, it comes with disadvantages as well. Ones that could also lead to more serious problems than a broken finger.
For example, Letizia, a fifty-two years old, had broken her shoulder in a skiing accident. However, she didn’t notice anything wrong since she couldn’t feel the typical reaction to an injury of that severity for more than a few seconds.
As such, she not only continued skiing but drove herself home as well. Letizia only found out about her broken shoulder the following day, from her doctor.
Despite the risks, however, the family has said that they fully embrace their ability and wouldn’t want “to cure it”.
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