April 8, 2003
If you’re a natural redhead, you may need more anesthesia to alleviate pain during surgical procedures. Researchers at the University of Louisville in Kentucky studying women with bright or dark red hair found that they needed 20 percent more anesthetic to block reflex movements in their arms and legs, which indicated they were more sensitive to pain. Redheads may have a malfunctioning receptor on certain cells, which gives their hair its pigment and triggers the release of a hormone that increases pain sensitivity. Based on these findings, it;s possible that redheads need more pain medication in the recovery room, too, researchers say, but that theory hasn’t been tested yet.