Types of congenital pain indifference
- Insensitivity to pain means that the painful stimulus is not even perceived: a patient cannot describe the intensity or type of pain.
- Indifference to pain means that the patient can perceive the stimulus, but lacks an appropriate response: they will not flinch or withdraw when exposed to pain.
IncidenceFor example, it is found in Vittangi, a village in Kiruna Municipality in northern Sweden, where nearly 40 cases have been reported.Also, Ashkenazi Jews have been found to have a higher risk, though it is still unusual.
Media depictionsIn Stieg Larsson's Millennium series, former boxer Paolo Roberto discovers that Ronald Niedermann was born with congenital analgesia and is therefore, as he describes "invulnerable" physically. ("He just keeps on going!") Even so, Roberto continues that his inability to perceive pain is a severe danger because Niedermann has no way of understanding when his body is being put in mortal danger by way of punches, blows, burns, or even gunshots. It is suggested that human awareness of painful stimuli is an evolutionary necessity to avoid injury and death.The Grey's Anatomy episode Sometimes a Fantasy features a young girl named Megan Clover that suffers from congenital analgesia believing herself to be a superhero.The episode of House, M.D. entitled Insensitive also features a young girl named Hannah Morganthal who suffers from congenital analgesia, making her sickness extremely difficult to diagnose.In the 2011 slasher film Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings, the characters Three Finger, One Eye and Saw Tooth are said to have the disorder by the head of the sanatorium they are in in the portion of the film set in 1974, with it being theorized that the condition was the result of inbreeding. Due to their inability to properly register pain, the three were depicted as being prone to self harm in their youth, mutilating, severing and eating some of their own body parts.In the play "Almost, Maine" by John Cariani, the vignette "This Hurts" is about a man with Congenital Analgesia, or "Hereditary Sensory Neuropathy Type 4", who is clocked in the head with an ironing board, and in the end feels the pain of love.In the mystery novel "The Freak Show Case" by Brian D. Eyre and Lezlie K. King, the detective's client and prime suspect has Congenital Analgesia and believes he cannot feel pain. He learns quickly that not all pain is physical, and that emotional pain can be extremely real and extremely motivating.The video game Dark Sector's protagonist, as shown in previews has this disease, and as such while others infected went mad from the pain, he remains sane and rational.In an episode of Grimm titled Game Ogre (season 1, episode 8), an escaped murderer has this condition.