Medical Minute 11-2: Pushed to the Extreme: The Power of Pain

By: Ramin Khalili Email
By: Ramin Khalili Email

"She did not cry when she was born, the nurse even said, oh what a good baby you have."

A good baby they said, one who grew into a precocious toddler with no fear.

"She was in her high chair and she literally put her pointer finger in her mouth and just ripped the skin right off, she wasn't upset," said Tara Blocker.

"I was not looking where I was going and then I crashed and then my ankle got broken," said Ashlyn Blocker who can't feel pain.

"Did you know it was broken?"

"No I just kept on going," she said.

It's called congenital insensitivity to pain. A pair of genetic mutations short-circuited the pain signals that go to Ashlyn's brain. She's just one of 20 documented cases in the U.S.

Ashlyn is helping researchers study pain like never before. They wanna know if there's a master switch for pain and how to turn it on and off.

"If they could just have one molecule like the way Ashlyn has, they would have the perfect pain killer," said Tara Blocker.

That pain killer may just save someone like Robert Hinton.

"The extreme pain I get is like someone just dousing my body with gasoline and just constantly lighting a match," said Robert Hinton who suffers from chronic pain.

A car crash led to a nerve injury, which led to the a diagnosis of reflex sympathetic dystrophy. That's a chronic neurological syndrome that causes constant burning in the hands and legs.

"I've gone through having more than 100 epidurals and nerve blocks just to get the pain where it's tolerable."

A man whose pain won't stop. A girl who can't even begin to feel pain at all.

A feisty girl doubling as the holy grail for pain treatment.If doctors can only solve the riddle before she does permanent damage herself.

For More Information, Contact:University of Florida Department of MedicineGainesville, FLPhone : 352-392-3261

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