Who felt it not, smelt it not

People with a genetic inability to feel pain also can’t detect odors

By Tina Hesman Saey, 15:41 PM March 23, 2011

People who feel no pain due to a particular rare genetic defect also can’t smell anything, a new study finds. The unexpected discovery shows that nerves that detect pain and odors rely on the same protein to transmit information to the brain.

Researchers examined three people who have mutations in the SCN9A gene and can’t feel pain. All of the people had broken multiple bones without feeling any pain, and two had given birth painlessly. But none were aware that they also couldn’t smell a th...

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