Ashlyn Blocker was born with a condition called congenital insensitivity which leaves her feeling absolutely no pain. The disease is caused by two found gene mutations which cut off the pain signals that are sent to Ashlyn’s brain. Her doctor’s name is Dr. Roland Staud who is a pain expert and professor in the University of Florida‘s college of medicine. There are only 20 documented cases of insensitivity to pain in our entire country which makes Ashlyn’s health issue “one in six billion”. Ashlyn lives with her family in Georgia, her parents struggle to keep her safe. Ashlyn never cried when she was a baby so her parents just thought that she was a happy child however when Ashlyn was diagnosed with a corneal abrasion and was smiling in her mother’s lap it was evident that she doesn’t feel pain like a normal child. For a long time, Ashlyn’s parents knew something was different about her but nothing could be diagnosed.
Dr. Staud was able to discover what gene was the cause of Ashlyn’s insensitivity to pain. Tara and John Blocker were ecstatic when the four year process came to an end. The SCN9A gene was mutated. This gene contained the signal that starts the production of the molecules that stimulate pain-signaling nerve cells so they can send the pain impulses to the brain. There are two extremes caused by the mutation, too much of the molecule so the patients feels extreme pain or too little of the molecule which causes the patient to not feel pain.
Ashlyn can feel a tickle or a touch but not a painful pinch or a burn. This is because the mutation decreased her sensitivity to pain and did not eliminate it entirely. It’s dangerous because Ashlyn doesn’t know when she’s harming her body. Pain is warning signal that alarms a person to stop whatever they are doing because it’s hurting your body. Since Ashlyn does not have a sense of pain, she has no empathy when she sees other people crying because she can’t relate with the pain that they are feeling....
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