X

The Strange Case of a Family That Doesn’t Feel Pain

An entire Italian family suffer from a strange genetic mutation that makes them almost completely immune to pain. The condition is so rare that scientists have named it ‘The Marsili Syndrome’, after the family.

Letizia Marsili, 52, became aware of her immunity to pain in early childhood when she didn’t experience any particular sensation from burns or fractures. Five other members of her family, spanning at least three generations, also share this rare genetic anomaly that makes impervious to pain situations where an average person would require an anesthetic. The Marsilis have become the focus of researchers hoping to discover how their mutation works, in the hopes of developing new ways to treat pain.

Read More »

Being Stung by the Gympie Gympie Tree Is the Worst Kind of Pain You Can Imagine

‘Gympie-Gympie’ is hardly the name you’d expect for a stinging-tree. It looks quite harmless too, but in reality, the Gympie-Gympie is one of the most venomous plants in the world. Commonly found in the rainforest areas of north-eastern Australia, the Moluccas and Indonesia, it is known to grow up to one to two meters in height.

In fact, the Gympie-Gympie sting is so dangerous that it has been known to kill dogs, horses and humans alike. If you’re lucky enough to survive, you  only feel excruciating pain that can last several months and reoccur for years. Even a dry specimen can inflict pain, almost a hundred years after being picked!

With the exception of its roots, every single part of the deadly tree – its heart shaped leaves, its stem and its pink/purple fruit – is covered with tiny stinging hairs shaped like hypodermic needles. You only need to lightly touch the plant to get stung, after which the hair penetrates the body and releases a painful toxin called moroidin. Sometimes, merely being in the presence of the plant and breathing the hair that it sheds into the air can cause itching, rashes, sneezing and terrible nosebleeds.

gympie-gympie Read More »

Chinese Maternity Hospital Lets Expecting Dads Experience Labor Pains

When a recent study revealed that expectant mothers want more empathy from their spouses, the executives at Aima maternity hospital in eastern China came up with a wonderful idea – ‘Pain Experience Camp’. The camp offers fathers-to-be the chance to experience the pain of childbirth by giving them electric shocks through special pads placed on their bellies.  The shocks simulate labor pains by causing muscles to spasm.

The painful service was started in November and over 300 men have signed up for it since then. In fact, the response has been so overwhelming that in addition to free sessions twice a week at the hospital, Aima has opened a pop-up booth at the local Shi Mao shopping mall. Each session lasts about five minutes, during which a nurse gradually raises the intensity of the shocks between a scale of one to ten.

pain-experience-camp Read More »

Ear Pull – A Manly Game That Will Test Your Ears

One of the most difficult games I’ve ever heard of, Ear Pull is an old Inuit tradition that has competitors test the strength of their ears.

The Ear Pull is as simple as it is painful. Two contestants sit down in front of each other with their legs straddled and interlocked, place a loop of twine around one of their ears, and at the referee’s signal, start pulling back until one of them either yields or the loop of twine comes off from one of the ears.

It may sound like a horrific display, to some of you, but the Ear Pull is a registered sport practiced at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics. Competitors’ faces contort, their ears turn bright red and crumple as the string cuts deeper into the cartilage, and some of them even require stitches. And for what, some of you may ask. Most ear pull competitors say they do it to endure pain, but the old Inuits used to practice this bizarre game as training for enduring ear frostbites.

Read More »