• An Nguyen

The people who don't feel pain

Pain is the body's way of telling us to be careful, but there are some people who go their entire lives without feeling it.

Stefan Betz, a 21-year-old university student, suffers from a genetic disorder so rare that only a few hundred people worldwide are estimated to have it. It’s called congenital insensitivity to pain, or CIP.

People with this disorder can place their hand in boiling water or undergo an operation without any anesthetic, and yet feel no discomfort whatsoever.

“People assume that feeling no pain is this incredible thing and it almost makes you superhuman,” Betz says. “For people with CIP it’s the exact opposite. We would love to know what pain means and what it feels like to be in pain. Without it, your life is full of challenges.”

One of the reasons scientists believe CIP is so rare is because not many people with the disorder reach adulthood. Without the body’s natural warning mechanism, many people with CIP exhibit self-destructive behavior as children or young adults.

According to BBC.com, “Many of the people have killed themselves by their late 20s by doing ridiculously dangerous things, not restrained by pain.”

Scientists are still trying to understand the disorder and hopefully find a cure for it one day.

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