JAN 21, 2016 10:29 AM PST

Here's Why Pain Isn

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

The ability to feel pain, while annoying most of the time, is actually a powerful evolutionary adaptation that's helps us stay alive. For most people painful sensations let us know to immediately stop any activities that harm our bodies. But for some people (hardcore professional athletes excluded), physical pain is an exotic sensation they've never experienced before.

The inability to feel physical pain is known formally as congenital insensitivity to pain (CIP) or congenital analgesia. The condition is marked by insensitivity (lack of perception), as well as indifference (lack of appropriate response) to painful stimuli. Mutations in several nerve sensor genes have been linked to CIP, including PRDM12 and SCN9A.

While it may sound wicked awesome to not register physical pain, the condition can be quite dangerous. Watch the video to learn more about how life without physical pain isn't all that awesome after all.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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