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Author Topic: Is it true that red heads are more sensitive to pain?  (Read 3605 times)

Offline ATremor

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I heard this today and wondered if there was some truth to it. If so why would this be?


 

Offline chris

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Is it true that red heads are more sensitive to pain?
« Reply #1 on: 18/06/2010 22:36:41 »
I've not heard of this - where did you see this claim being made? Scientists have, recently, uncovered some polymorphisms (genetic changes) corresponding to pain sensitivity amongst the general population, but I wasn't aware that red hair was linked to these traits.

Chris
 

Offline ATremor

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Is it true that red heads are more sensitive to pain?
« Reply #2 on: 19/06/2010 04:54:52 »
Chris,
I heard this on a podcast called "Stuff You Should Know" from Jan 09. I wish I had access to it right now as I'm foggy to the details. The study involved several subjects under anesthesia being given a bit of a jolt. The pain response was measured by the fluttering of eyelids.  Ugg I'll have to get back to you when I can get the details of this study. Thanks
 

Offline chris

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Is it true that red heads are more sensitive to pain?
« Reply #3 on: 19/06/2010 09:41:40 »
Righto; well if you can find where they got their information from and send me a reference I'll certainly take a look.

Meanwhile, given that lots of Scottish and Irish people are red-headed, and they are hard as nails (given the terrible weather where they live!), I'm slightly skeptical as to whether this can be true!

Chris
 

Offline RD

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Is it true that red heads are more sensitive to pain?
« Reply #4 on: 19/06/2010 11:01:17 »
Quote
People with red hair are more susceptible to pain, according to doctors.

Research carried out in the United States suggests that redheads need 20% more anaesthesia than people with other hair colour.

Doctors believe that genes which are responsible for red hair also have a role in managing pain.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/2329313.stm


Is it true that red heads are more sensitive to pain?

Yes if the pain is sunburn. :)
 

Offline ATremor

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Is it true that red heads are more sensitive to pain?
« Reply #5 on: 03/07/2010 00:07:16 »
Chris,
  After searching for nearly a month for the aforementioned study I have resulted in squat. Well, maybe it took 2 minutes to find squat, but it's still squat. The original source is Medscape from a 2002 study at the University of Louisville Kentucky, but I don't have access to it.
  Here is a link to the information I could access.
 http://health.howstuffworks.com/medicine/surgeries-procedures/redhead-anesthesia.htm

This study involved only 20 women but there was also another 2004 study that included both men and women.
 
This 2002 study from what I can read doesn't sound entirely convincing so I'd like to know what you thought and if you've heard of anything else to support it.
Thanks

Adam
 

Offline Carbonizer

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Is it true that red heads are more sensitive to pain?
« Reply #6 on: 03/07/2010 00:53:44 »
I heard this today and wondered if there was some truth to it. If so why would this be?

I've heard that redheads are generally more sensitive to pain, and also have a higher threshold of pain.

The Mythbusters backed up this conclusion in Episode 142, but of course their science usually consists of very small sample sizes. That's fine for them; it's an entertainment show and they're happy to gather enough evidence to say "maybe", but they're not real scientists and they don't do exhaustive studies.

Anecdotally speaking, I'm a redhead and I seem to have a higher pain threshold than most people I know. In my youth I broke my right wrist and thought it was a minor sprain. I've been through a car wreck that broke my clavicle and caused some damage to nerves in my left arm, but I don't recall that experience as having been particularly painful.

The only two times I've experienced unbearable pain are when I got a horrid sunburn (for two days, the lightest touch to the burnt skin caused me agony), and when the crown of one of my molars shattered (the shattering itself wasn't bad, but a few hours later the exposed nerve endings were unbearable to the point that double doses of Vicodin dulled it to a barely tolerable level).
 

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Is it true that red heads are more sensitive to pain?
« Reply #6 on: 03/07/2010 00:53:44 »

 

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