Wednesday, June 25, 2014
#177 / Red
National Geographic has advised its readers that most redheads "experience pain differently than the rest of us." That's what an article from the June 2014 edition contended.
According to National Geographic, red hair "is caused by a mutation in the skin’s melanocortin-1 receptor gene." This gene, apparently, may "inadvertently activate" the receptors in the brain that process anxiety and pain. "Anecdotal evidence [has] long held that redheads were harder to anesthetize. The consortium tested this theory and found that redheads required 19 percent more gas for general anesthesia. They’re also more sensitive to thermal pain and more resistant to local anesthesia."
Redheads, in other words, according to National Geographic, are more "sensitive" than the non-redheaded league, and are simply more susceptible to pain than non-redheads. The National Geographic article was drawn to my attention by my wife who just happens to be (you guessed it) a redhead.
Other sources on the Internet appear to claim virtually the opposite. The Gizmodo Website agrees with National Geographic that "Redheads Feel Pain Differently Than the Rest of Us." It is the Gizmodo claim, though, that redheads "have a higher pain threshold than most of us, and can handle spicier food, too."
Who to believe? I am smart enough to believe my wife, no matter what Gizmodo says. I think that's only prudent. Besides, if I am looking for proof, my wife can't stand spicy food!