Sunday, March 10, 2013

Redheads feel pain differently than other people

DailyMail has published an article that Danish study was conducted that proved redheads feel pain differently than other people.  The research has shown that redheads are more sensitive to cold, suffer from more toothaches, and are less responsive to anaesthetics.  The findings also indicated though that they are less susceptible to skin pain and can handle spicy food better than others.  It was suggested in recent years that redheaded women felt pain differently from blondes and brunettes.  Scientists theorized that it was because of the 'redhead' gene.  Professor Lars Arendt-Nielsen of the Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction at Aalborg University has questioned any further consequences given the gene's close association with the central nervous system and has stated:
'It seems that MCR1 is involved in central functions in the brain, and we know that subgroups like MC2R, MC3R and MC4R, which are also linked to redheads, have considerable involvement in brain functions. This could be the key to explaining why redheads are a little different to other people.'

More information can be found at this article.

Screaming Ginger


  1. We always thought my red-hedded Aunt Debbie was overdramatic... but maybe she's seriously genetically-predispositioned to react that way. Crazy stuff! It would be interesting if they could find a gene corresponding to brunette hair color (as I am one myself). Maybe then I could have a legitimate reason for some of my outlandish humor or behavior!

  2. This generates an entirely new definition for "Ginger-snaps". Most red headed lineage stems from Celtic roots. My grandmother was a fiery Irish woman and half of my wife's family is Irish as well. I just thought that they were still ticked-off at the British for the whole Northern Ireland thing. I don't understand why the article states that they are less susceptible to skin pain when usually red-heads sun burn so easily. Plus, have you ever had Irish food? I love it personally but, I did not find it to be spicy at all. Actually, it was rather bland as is with most Celtic foods. I wonder how they developed the ability to handle spicy foods better than most others. Now if we were talking about how some red-heads (particularly the Irish and Scottish) had a genetic predisposition to throw down some alcohol, well that would be and interesting research project.

  3. This reminds me of an episode from Mythbusters (which yes, I know isn't the most scientifically accurate show in the Universe, but it has to be leaps and bounds more educational than most of the stuff on TV nowadays) where they actually tested if Redheads were more sensitive to pain. They tested it by timing how long each individual could submerge their hands in a fishbowl of iced water until they gave up -- which apparently is the traditional way of testing pain.

    At the time, they determined that Redheads actually had a lower pain tolerance than Non-Redheads which could conflict with this article. This article mentioned Redheads were less tolerant to cold water, but, were more tolerant to skin pain. I'm wondering if Mythbusters just used a smaller sample size (very possible considering their format) or if there is more to how pain is detected in the body than just the gene alone.

  4. This was interesting to me because I wanted to know how redheads compare to other hair-colored people. What makes them have a lower or higher pain tolerance? It's intriguing to learn that their daily life is actually different just because of the recessive genes that give them red hair. Great article!