A 66 year old woman in Scotland had told doctors that she felt no arthritis pain before and after her surgery. According to an article in Popular Science her case could potentially lead to new ways to alleviate depression in patients. Researchers at University College London specializing in pain genetics have tested the woman's DNA and some from her immediate family. They found a newly discovered gene has a mutation. There is a deletion of the gene which is called a pseudogene, it is a copy of a fully functioning gene just copied elsewhere. The woman's pseudogene is called FAAH-OUT where FAAH normally promotes euphoric or happy feelings and decreases negative sensations. FAAH affects the anandamide levels, this woman's anandamide levels were 70% higher than typical, causing her to not feel pain and keep her happy. The woman has never required pain medication, she would only take it due to being told to by doctors. The woman's father was the same way but her daughter is normal and her son is heterozygous for the rare mutation his mother has. This mutation has been tested in mice where they have little pain, less anxiety, enhanced skin healing, and short term memory problems. Research into slight loss of FAAH is still ongoing to help determine if it will help reduce anxiety and depression.
Although, this is still ongoing research, I hope that they can find a way to help people with severe depression get better with something more natural than chemicals produced outside of the body. As for the woman whose DNA is being tested for the research, I hope that she is able to deal with her memory problems. Also, I hope that she continues to be unable to feel pain because at her age if she were to start feeling the pain fully I do not think she would be able to handle it easily.
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