Genetic pain management

Congenital insensitivity to pain is kind of a novel condition that causes the afflicted to feel no pain:

Can it be given to someone in a gene mod?  Can it be reversed later?  If so, it would allow for MUCH more invasive procedures.

On a side note, the box jellyfish has one of the worst venoms known to man.  It opens sodium channels in your nerves, producing the sensation of severe pain (possibly the most intense pain that can ever be experienced).  They say that people stung by the box jellyfish will try to kill themselves to end their suffering.  I noticed that the gene responsible for congenital insensitivity to pain prohibits the sodium channels from opening, which makes sense if the perception of pain is caused by sodium ion exchange in neurons. 


  • IanIan
    edited April 2011
    @DirectorX:  Well, that sounds nice at first; after all, who doesn't want to avoid pain?  Well, be careful what you wish for.  People with this condition usually end up dying fairly young because, for example, they scald themselves with hot coffee they don't mind drinking, they scratch themselves so hard they start taking skin with them, etc.  One of the more interesting things is that they don't change position while they're sitting, so their joints wear down.  Many anhidrosis patients have to set timers to remind them to change position.

    However, if we could temporarily shut off or significantly reduce pain in a local area, such as our fingertips, that would be another story, because it would be dead useful.  Unfortunately, I don't see that happening with DIY mods, but you never know.  I hope someone comes and proves me wrong on that :-)


    EDIT:  shut off, not shut of...
  • You could produce a crude chemical inhibitor that would temporarily remove any and all sensation - but I would not make it a permanent mod, as you'd die a nasty death sometime after

    This was interesting.  Also, it was the first I've heard of a replication defective herpes simplex vector.  Apparently used for localized gene therapy?
  • Wrecking the victim's ability to feel pain is how leprosy (eventually, indirectly) kills them. But the ability to switch on and off pain receptors or transmission would be incredibly useful, especially if localizable (yes, not a word, but still).
  • You'll have to give my imagination a boost here. I get that turning off pain would be useful in say surgery but i'm not sure what other uses there could be.
  • I can't think of any other uses for myself.  I'm sure it would be nice for those who suffer from constant pain.  I'd just use it to turn the pain off and switch the pain back on after I was done.  Also, I think the grinding community would have a lot more people in it if the pain issue was solved.  Same goes for body modification.
  • I know this is several years old, but I thought I'd add something. I have a problem with loss of sensation in my right arm - I tend to drop things and I regularly burn my right hand. But that doesn't stop the pain from tendinitis flare-ups. While it is all nerves, some may carry the signals differently than others - after all, why do narcotic meds work so well for acute pain, but not at all for chronic pain? Not all pain is the same. But keep working on it - I'll test whatever you come up with!
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