This CNN article surprised me. Has anyone else ever heard of this before? Any natural red-heads care to weigh in?
Studies have indicated that redheads may be more sensitive to pain and may need more anesthetics to numb them."The persistent rumor in the anesthesia community was that redheads were difficult to anesthetize," Sessler said. "They didn't go under, had a lot of pain, didn't respond well to anesthesia. Urban legends usually don't start studies, but it was such an intriguing observation."
This led to two studies. In 2004, research showed that people with red hair need 20 percent more general anesthesia than blonds and brunettes.
A 2005 study indicated that redheads are more sensitive to thermal pain and are more resistant to the effects of local anesthesia.
Researchers believe variants of the melanocortin-1 receptor gene play a role. This MC1R gene produces melanin, which gives skin, hair and eyes their color.JADA StudyWhile the relationship between MC1R and pain sensitivity is not entirely understood, researchers have found MC1R receptors in the brain and some of them are known to influence pain sensitivity.
Non-redheads can also carry a variant of the MC1R gene. In this dental study that had 144 participants, about a quarter of the non-redheads had variants of the MC1R gene. These people also experienced heightened anxiety and avoided dental care compared with others who did not have the variant.