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Science & Technology

'Bionic girl' unable to feel hunger or pain

By T.K. Randall
January 17, 2016 · Comment icon 8 comments

Olivia is unable to feel pain or hunger and is rarely tired. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Paul Sapiano
7-year-old Olivia Farnsworth suffers from a rare condition that affects only 100 people worldwide.
The illness, which has led to her acquiring the nickname 'bionic girl', makes it impossible for her to experience pain or hunger and renders her extraordinarily resilient to feeling tired.

While being unable to feel pain might seem like an advantage, sufferers often have difficulty determining when they've injured themselves and have a reduced sense of danger.

"She got run over and dragged down the street by a car and she didn’t complain," said her mother Niki. "She was dragged about ten car lengths down the road. It was horrendous."

"But Olivia was just like, ‘What’s going on?’. She just got up and started walking back to me."
The inability to feel tired or hungry also represents on ongoing problem because these important sensations conventionally tell a person when they are deficient in sustenance or sleep.

To get around this, Olivia has to stick to a strict regiment of eating and sleeping at specific times.

Doctors believe that her unique ailments are the result of something called chromosome 6 deletion however the combination of all three symptoms has never been reported before.

"This is a super rare case," said Beverley Searl, chief executive of the support group that has been helping Olivia manage her condition. "There may not be anybody out there the same as Olivia."

Source: Yorkshire Post | Comments (8)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by davros of skaro 7 years ago
I see the resemblance. *Snip*
Comment icon #2 Posted by Black Red Devil 7 years ago
Future Olympic Marathon runner gold medallist.
Comment icon #3 Posted by docyabut2 7 years ago
To bad all life doesn't have to feel the pain.
Comment icon #4 Posted by IBelieveWhatIWant 7 years ago
I would assume that although she doesn't feel pain or hunger and has a resistance to sleep (which I envy) she will still die if she doesn't eat or sleep and if she gets hurt bad enough bones will still break. It would be awesome if she could survive on very little food and sleep and if her bones were stronger than normal but I highly suspect that it's just wishful thinking on my part.
Comment icon #5 Posted by pallidin 7 years ago
Dang, that must be a horrible condition to live through. I wonder if she is able to feel "pleasant, tickly sensations", such as a feather brushing against skin. Presumably she can not feel, say, the sting of a wasp or bite of a snake. Could "gene therapy" help cure such a disorder?
Comment icon #6 Posted by FLOMBIE 7 years ago
Send her to the mines. That will teach her.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Eldorado 7 years ago
Poor wee lamb.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Summerin1905 7 years ago
i guess the saying no pain no gain actually makes sense in this situation.

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