Newly identified gene mutation explains why one family experiences unusual pain response to cold

If you’ve ever plunged your hand into a tub of ice water, you know about the overlap between cold and pain: That deep, biting ache makes you want to get your hand out of the water – fast. While the protective value of that sensation is obvious, scientists have always been a bit mystified by how pain-sensing nerves register cold temperatures. But now, Stanford research on a family with an extremely unusual gene mutation may help clarify what’s going on.