Research team headed by Dr. Ian Jackson of University of Edinburgh, UK, has found that red haired women can withstand pain more readily than blondes or brunettes. The research team has found a gene that is responsible for withstanding pain. The outcome of the research will lead to development of new anesthetics.
The mode of action of the gene is still being studied by the researchers, but it does appear that red heads have a significantly decreased pain threshold and require fewer anesthetics to block out certain pains. The main aim of the study is to find the biochemical pathways that can be used to develop better ways of combating pain. "People would be interested in the possibility of developing new anesthetics or co-anesthetics, Jackson said. He said," "Treatment for chronic pain is difficult, for example pain from cancer. It's difficult to regulate and people are looking for drugs in that area".
Jackson acknowledged the earlier work done by Jeffrey Mogil at Mc Gill University in Montreal, Canada. Mogil identified a mutant version of a gene called melanocortin-1 (Mc1r) that is linked to ginger hair and fair skin and makes women, although not men, more resistant to pain.