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Posted on Thursday, December 14 - 2006

A young Pakistani street performer and members of three related families have enabled scientists to make a genetic breakthrough that could lead to more effective painkillers. During his short life, the unnamed boy never felt pain. He was a local celebrity in northern Pakistan where he astonished crowds by plunging knives through his arms and walking on burning coals. He died on his 14th birthday after jumping from a roof.By studying his case, and other individuals from families in the same clan, researchers have discovered that they all had a rare inherited geneticmutation that stopped them feeling pain."All six affected individuals had never felt any pain, at any time, in any part of their body," said Dr Geoffrey Woods, of the University of Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR) in England.

The mutation Woods and his collaborators in Britain and Pakistan have discovered is on a gene called SCN9A. It stops a sodium channel, which produces nerve impulses that convey pain signals to the brain, from functioning. So the otherwise healthy individuals do not experience pain.Woods, who reported the discovery in the journal Nature, said drugs that block the function of the channel "have the potential to produce new andpotentially safer analgesia."The drug company Pfizer Inc. already has a new pain relief product in preclinical development based on the genetic discovery. Although it hurts, pain is a useful sensation because it warns people of danger and injury or if something is too hot or too cold. It also has a survival benefit because when people begin to feel pain they change their behavior to avoid it.

View: Full Article | Source: Scientific American

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Liew Thow Lin: the real-life magnetic man

Submitted by Da Verminator: Liew Thow Lin is known as the "Magnetic Man" of Malaysia, because of his incredible ability to stick metal objects to his body. After a deep medical study, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) lecturer Nasrul Humaimi Mahmood said this ability was probably associated with "suction properties in his skin." Professor Dr. Mohamed Amin Alias, from UTM"s electrical engineering faculty in Johor, agreed. After seeing Liewperform, the professor did research on the matter, and d...

Superhuman: secrets of the ice man

Lewis Gordon Pugh has raised eyebrows and made headline news around the world for his spectacular feats and remarkable resilience to the cold. Over 20 years Pugh has taken part in 17 long distance swims, including a 21 day slog along Sognefjord in Norway. But how does his body manage to endure such extreme cold ?"Perched on the edge of an Antarctic ice sheet, Lewis Gordon Pugh surveys the waves. At 0 °C, water does not get...

Man with half a body defies the odds

Kenny Easterday was born with only half a body due to a rare medical condition and walks around on his hands.Despite his disability Kenny is able to lead a relatively normal life including playing sport and finding love despite refusing a weelchair or any kind of prosthetics in favour of getting around as he is usingonly his hands. Despite only having half a body, Kenny Easterday insists he can live the life of a normal man. Now he appears to haveproved it after claiming he has fathere...

Modern man a wimp says anthropologist

Anthropologist Peter McAllister has claimed that modern man is far inferior to most prehistoric males who would have possessed superior strength and agility and who could have easily beat any current athlete in the Olympics."Manyprehistoric Australian aboriginals could have outrun world 100 and 200meters record holder Usain Bolt in modern conditions. . Some Tutsi men in Rwanda exceeded the current world high jump record of 2.45...

Immortality

When we look at our lives we often ask, What is real? Is the soul real, is our body real? The answer is both. Our soul is and always has been immortal. The soul lives on with our without a physical body. The soul is the part of us that is the spark of the Creator. The living soul is the continuity of life with or without a body. The fact is that there is never death for the soul. More than an having an eternal soul, is it possible to have an immortal physical body? Many thousands o...

Girl laughs for 12 years

A Chinese couple are desperately seeking a cure for their daughter who has been laughing non-stop for 12 years. The mother, Yang Longying, of Chongqing, says it started when her second child, Xu Pinghui,had a fever when she was just eight months old."Ever since then, she has been laughing uncontrollably," she told theChongqing Evening Post.The couple say the situation worsened when she reached two years old because she lost her ability to speak and could onlylaugh. View: Full Article | Source: ...

Blind man regains sight through tooth

A man who was blinded 12 years ago following an accident at his workplace has regained his sight after doctors removed one of his teeth, fitted a tiny optical lens in to it and then inserted it in to his eye socket."A blinded man has seen his wife for the first time after surgeons gave him backhis sight using one of his teeth. . Martin Jones" canine was pulled out so a tiny optical lens could be fitted to it, then the toot...

World's tallest woman dies at age 53

The world’s tallest woman, Sandy Allen, died early Wednesday morning at a nursing home in her hometown of Shelbyville, Ind. She was 53. No cause of death has been released, but a family friend said Allen had been sick for several months. She had been hospitalized for a recurring blood infection, along with diabetes, breathing troubles and kidney failure, Rita Rose said. Allen, who was 7-foot-7, is listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest living woman, and has appeared in the p...

One gene keeps us either male or female

Scientists have found that the body is in a constant fight to stay biologically male or female and that if one single gene is suppressed it can be enough to flip from one to the other. "Women and men are constantly battling to suppresstheir masculine andfeminine sides - at least biologically, claim scientists. . Researchers have found that the body is in a constant fight to remain either female or male and the suppression of ...

Woman swallows 78 items of cutlery

A 52-year-old woman with an obsession for swallowing cutlery had to undergo an operation after she consumed a whopping 78 spoons and forks, when asked about her condition she told doctors that she couldn"thelp herself."A woman obsessed with swallowing spoons and forks wasforced to have an operation after she ate an entire canteen of cutlery. . Surgeons in Rotterdam, Holland, removed 78 different items of cutlery from Margaret D...


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