LONDON, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Imagine getting burns in fires, fractures from falling and cuts in the kitchen but never feeling any pain. An iron man or woman, perhaps?
Scottish woman Jo Cameron, 71, is virtually a real-life "iron woman", who has never needed to take painkillers after seeing the dentist and is perfectly fine with eating spicy Scotch bonnet chilis.
Cameron had never noticed any conspicuous difference between herself from others until she sought treatment for a hip problem at the age of 65. Shockingly, she experienced no pain despite severe degeneration in her joint.
Doctors were once again astonished when a year later, she said she felt no pain after undergoing what's typically a very painful operation on her hand for osteoarthritis.
Her inadequate pain sensitivity has prompted researchers to seek answers from genetics and found it was a rare genetic mutation in a previously unidentified gene called FAAH-OUT that spared her from pains and anxieties, according to a recent scientific report co-led by University College London and published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia.
The researchers also discovered that besides feeling no pain physically, Cameron is free from "pain" emotionally as there seemed to be few heartbreaking moments in her life.
An optimist, she scored the lowest on a common scale questionnaire and reported never panicking even in common dangerous scenarios.
The researchers predict that it's possible there are more people with the same mutation, considering that Cameron was unaware of her condition until her 60s.
It is hoped that the discovery could help guide new treatments for a range of conditions, from post-operative pain to anxiety and fear.