Monday, November 24, 2014

Congenital Analgesia - Life without Pain

Congenital analgesia is an incredibly rare genetic disorder where people feel absolutely no pain. This condition is so rare that the estimated prevalence of the disorder is 1 out of every 1 million people in the entire world. Although many may hear of this disorder and think it's 'cool' at first, it presents many dangers. People that have the disorder don't realize when they get hurt. They may persistently bite their tongue, scold themselves with hot water without realizing it, and just generally get hurt all the time and not have the senses required to know they need medical attention. At often times babies with this condition chew their lips, tongue, toes, and fingers; they can even LOSE the tips of their tongue or fingers! Children with congenital analgesia have no fear of objects such as knives or fire, they tend to walk straight into doors and 'fall down' instead of sitting down because they cannot rely on experiencing pain to guide them in learning behavior.  Recently a team of researchers identified a mutated gene that may be causing the disorder called SCN11A. The mutation takes part in disrupting how the individual perceives pain. There is no cure for this disorder but researchers hope this new identification can help in creating painkillers to assist such individuals.


  1. This is so interesting I wonder what it would be like to feel no pain. I know I would be constantly checking myself for wounds or something that is supposed to be painful. Also if they feel no pain, I wonder if they feel no pleasure.

  2. I had heard of this disorder a while back and it seemed so cool because they didn't realize pain something that many of us try to escape. However, you demonstrated how in fact its more of a curse than a blessing. And it made me realize what you gain with disorder, vs what you lose. I think I'd rather have pain than risk infection due to a cut I got that I didn't even feel.

  3. I was watching an episode of house that was based off of this disorder and I wasn't sure if it was! What an interesting post!