How research is helping with post-operative pain relief

News 28th March 2019 Enquiries & appointments
pathologist handling blood samples

Jo Cameron from Whitebridge, near Inverness has a very rare genetic mutation which means that she doesn’t feel any pain. Currently just one of two people in the world known to have this rare genetic makeup, she is now helping with clinical research into post-operative pain relief.

Jo has lived all of her life believing that she was just very healthy, never really needing pain relief not even for child birth! But at 65 years old she underwent surgery for a hip condition, which she had had no pain for, and never asked for pain relief from the hospital team afterwards.

Her anaesthetist was amazed, asked if could review her medical history and eventually sent her to pain geneticists at University College London (UCL) and Oxford University for testing.

Following her diagnosis, doctors believe she might also be able to heal more quickly than normal. However, her particular combination of genes does makes her forgetful and less anxious – a happy gene.

The researchers say it’s possible there are more people like Jo.

Dr Cox said: “People with rare insensitivity to pain can be valuable to medical research as we learn how their genetic mutations impact how they experience pain, so we would encourage anyone who does not experience pain to come forward.

“We hope that with time, our findings might contribute to clinical research for post-operative pain and anxiety, and potentially chronic pain, PTSD and wound healing.”

You can read more about Jo’s story here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-47719718

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