As the doctor began threading the needle through my skin, I bit down hard to prevent myself from crying out in pain. The night before, I'd slipped and fallen onto a pair of dubiously placed wine glasses, and I sliced my arm open. Despite three injections of local anesthesia and painkillers to dull the pain, I could feel every puncture from the stitches in my arm. At the time, I assumed I was a giant baby or the doctor actually had no idea what he was doing. It was until a few years ago that I learned the likely culprit of my sensitivity to pain. The responsible party was my two little variant melanocortin 1 receptor alleles, MC1R, better known as the redhead gene.
Background: Anesthetic requirement in redheads is exaggerated, suggesting that redheads may be especially sensitive to pain. We therefore tested the hypotheses that women with natural red hair are more sensitive to pain, and that redheads are resistant to topical and subcutaneous lidocaine. Data are presented as medians [interquartile ranges]. Results : Current perception, pain perception, and pain tolerance thresholds were similar in the red-haired and dark-haired women at , , and 5 Hz. In contrast, redheads were more sensitive to cold pain perception
Perhaps we pick on Pippi Longstockings because of the minority factor redheads only make up about 2 to 6 percent of the U. Red hair and light skin can be a killer combo, literally. According to a study published in the journal Molecular Cell, gingers are at elevated risk for developing melanoma , the deadliest form of skin cancer. An analysis of both mice and cells led scientists to identify that those with red hair lack another gene, PTEN, that usually goes hand-in-hand with MC1R and is known to suppress tumors. According to Dr.
Redheads have genes to thank for their tresses. Research shows red hair usually results from a mutation in a gene called MC1R , which codes for the melanocortin-1 receptor. The pigment found in redhair that makes it red is called pheomelanin. But redheads as a group have more in common than only their hair color -- certain health conditions appear to be more common among people with red hair.