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In this 7-years-old Belfast Telegraph article there's a video posted to Russia Today about a girl called Olivia Farnsworth who has the genetic abnormality "chromosome 6 deletion" which caused her to not feel pain, hunger, nor even need to sleep.

Are these related to this genetic disease?

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    Even as a notable source, that's a terrible article. DailyMail at least elaborates that it's (allegedly?) 6p deletion, which means the short end of the chromosome is missing. They also say that she may be the only one who has these symptoms together, which makes me question to what extent we can give an answer to this question. (It would be pretty easy to prove that those symptoms all exist separately with other conditions, however.)
    – Laurel
    Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 1:19
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    How does one even survive toddler stage without the urge to eat, without the urge to not touch the hot stove a second time, without the the urge to allow the brain to reorganize? Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 20:39
  • @HagenvonEitzen Here's an article(Archive link, no paywall) on a person with no pain.
    – Nelson
    Commented Nov 10, 2023 at 1:41

1 Answer 1

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She is unique, so far

The sources backing this up aren't peer reviewed, however, and the sources that cover Olivia specifically are news articles unfortunately. The Daily Mail reports an interview with the Chromosome disorder support group Unique's Chief executive Dr Beverly Searle where she said she didn't know of any other people with the condition who have the same symptoms:

Of 15,000 chromosome disorder cases on their worldwide database - just 100 are the '6p' deletion that Olivia has.

'There may not be anybody out there the same as Olivia,' she said.

Considering the small number of known cases (backed up by Unique on their own site), it's impossible at this point to say whether these are rare symptoms caused by this rare condition, or caused by something else entirely. None of these extreme symptoms are listed by DoveMed or any other articles covering 6p deletions.

The symptoms exist in other individuals separately

While raising a child with these three symptoms would be difficult, it's not impossible.

  • Lack of hunger is known as anorexia (not to be confused with anorexia nervosa, the eating disorder), and there are a lot of conditions in which it occurs, at least to some extent. It is manageable. Infants who won't eat (for any reason) are given feeding tubes. According to Daily Mail, Olivia specifically "has been conditioned to eat" though she is fussy and only tends to eat specific foods.
  • Congenital insensitivity to pain (CIP) according to Wikipedia happens in "approximately 1 in every 25,000 live births". While it is "extremely dangerous" that is because it allows other conditions (such as severe burns) happen without the affected person potentially realizing, reacting, or seeking treatment. A related article (PRDM12) outlines the three known genetic conditions that cause CIP (none of which are on chromosome 6):
    • "a mutation in the SCN9A" in chromosome 2
    • "a mutation in the NTRK1" in chromosome 1
    • "10 homozygous mutations on PRDM12" in chromosome 9
  • As for never feeling tired, this could be a type of insomnia or other sleep disorder. (Note: while some articles say she needs "no sleep", this seems to just be poor wording. She does sleep according to the Daily Mail, just less than a healthy child, sometimes going three days without sleeping.)

(Some of these Wikipedia articles aren't great here, but I'm including them in the absence of more specific sources.)

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