A rare mutation keeps the 71-year-old Scottish woman free from pain and stress

Jo Cameron (center)

Until the age of 60, a resident of Scotland, Jo Cameron, considered her life carefree and free from anxiety. The wounds did not bring her pain, healed almost before her eyes, she did not worry about falling and hitting painfully, even if it happened. She perceived childbirth as an "amusing process", and when, in her old age, doctors explained to her that her life was not going at all like others, she was very surprised at this. And she began to compare the facts.

Cameron is now 71 years old, and she still does not feel pain, but now she is afraid of it. Several years ago, during an operation on her arm, the behavior of her body baffled the anesthesiologists, and they sent the woman for a genetic examination. There it turned out that she was a mutant, but due to her considerable age and shaky health, now it is fraught with problems. Cameron can, out of habit, miss an important signal from the nervous system and end up in the hospital with a complication.

Scientists have figured out that Jo Cameron has a suppressed FAAH gene, which is responsible for the breakdown of the substance anandamide, which is identical in properties to cannabis. This is not such a rare mutation, but in a woman, in addition, information about this gene is transferred to a pseudogene, a non-functional piece of DNA. And therefore, for Jo, FAAH does not work at all, which is why she seems to be constantly in a slight narcotic "ecstasy": she is relaxed, calm, her reactions to external stimuli are smoothed out.

It has been established that the concentration of anandamide in the body of a Scotch woman is consistently twice the norm and almost never decreases. Therefore, in principle, she did not know what pain and anxiety were until the doctors explained it to her. Now, inspired by the discovery, British doctors are looking for a way to safely disable the FAAH gene to alleviate the suffering of people with chronic pain.