Researchers Study Whether Redheads Feel More Pain

New test on a link between red hair and pain sensitivity

By DANIEL MACHT
|  Monday, Mar 26, 2012  |  Updated 8:30 AM CDT
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Researchers Study Whether Redheads Feel More Pain

Redheads like Rupert Grint could perceive pain differently than non-redheads.

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Scientists are investigating why redheads appear to be more sensitive to pain than those with other hair colors.

Researchers at Southampton University Hospital are the latest to test the theory that a mutation in a gene that affects hair color also plays a role in the production of natural painkillers.

They’ve signed up redheaded volunteers over 30 years old to be anaesthetized and given small electric shocks on the thigh, according to reports.

The test subjects will be judged on how they perceive pain against a control group of those with dark-colored hair, the Telegraph reported.

The trial is set to end in September, but if past studies are any indication they are likely to find redheads feel more pain than others.

Research published in The Journal of the American Dental Association in 2009 found people with red hair needed larger doses of anesthesia and were twice as likely to avoid going to the dentist than those with other hair colors, The New York Times reported.

The same researchers earlier found that women with red hair needed 19 percent more painkillers than the greater population, according to the Telegraph.


 

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