For most of us, pain as a concept is something that does not spare a second thought: you stub your toe, it hurts a little, then it disappears. But to scientists, the experience of pain makes for fascinating study and an understanding that can potentially unlock new methods of treatment and pain relief.
Horizon displays the latest research on pain and progress has been made through studies around the world from a woman in London who has felt no pain in his life, a man in the U.S. he cut his arm to survive, after being housed in an oven.
Geneticist Dr. John Woods travels the world looking for people who feel strange pain or not feeling any pain, and believes that the secret of pain is in our DNA. In fact, after two years of studying the DNA of three generations of an Italian family who are not extreme temperatures, he discovered the family share a mutation in the gene that blocks the path to certain types of pain and therefore the names of the syndrome after them.
Similarly, a woman in London who feels no pain at all (remember an early experience where his mother, the smell of burning flesh, who is kneeling on a radiator and had to tear the skin), described his relief finally able to explain their condition.
Meanwhile, we learn about the importance of early life experiences and their importance in the development of our pain pathways. An experiment on brain activity in premature babies (which is therefore subject to intensive care treatment) compared with full-term infants show a marked difference in brain activity, suggesting that premature babies have increased sensitivity to pain.