Friday, August 7, 2009

Redheads' pain tolerance

Researchers believe redheads are more sensitive to pain because of a mutation in a gene that affects hair color. ... A mutation in the MC1R gene results in the production of a substance called pheomelanin that results in red hair and fair skin.

The MC1R gene belongs to a family of receptors that include pain receptors in the brain, and as a result, a mutation in the gene appears to influence the body’s sensitivity to pain. A 2004 study showed that redheads require, on average, about 20 percent more general anesthesia than people with dark hair or blond coloring.
--Tara Parker-Pope, NYT, on the curse of red hair

1 comment:

gobadine said...

While this may be true, it has also been found through studies in London that Women with Red Hair can tolorate more pain than those with brown, black or blonde hair. While the reason that Red Haired people need a high dose of anesthetic is due to their bodies being able to process chemicals within their blood, red heads in studies recover from alcohol, or drugs more quickly than those with other types of hair.