One day, a nine-month old boy picks up a piping hot chip from his father's plate, burning three of his little fingers but shedding not even a single tear. At 17-months, he breaks his heel but simply runs away from the doctor without even a little concern. Meet Ben Whittaker, the one-in-a-billion boy who feels no pain.
Ben's parents, Joane and Wayne Whittaker were surprised at their little boy's amazing resistance to pain when he pulled out one of this teeth without even a blink, but soon realized that he was no ordinary child. Ben is victim (or victor) to an extremely rare genetic disorder which make him completely pain resistant.
The disorder, known as congenital indifference to pain, was first diagnosed in the 1930s. Only 32 other cases have been identified before. Experts believe the condition is caused by the failure of a substance called betaendorphin which occurs naturally in the body and modulates pain sensations.
A no-pain-sensation can sound like a superhero advantage but medical experts believe that the condition can pose some serious dangers to Ben. Specialists at Sheffield Children's Hospital are worried that he could bite off the end of his tongue without knowing it and have suggested removing all his baby teeth to save him from hurting himself.
Ben's mother, says she dare not let Ben out of her sight for a moment. Speaking at the family home in Royston, South Yorkshire, she said: "At first we just thought he was an extra tough little cookie, but gradually we began to realise he was just too tough to be true."