Redheads and Pain

Last week I shared a five minute clip I made from a talk on red hair and the myths associated with it that was put on during the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh.  Today I have another clip that deals with the question of a redhead’s threshold for pain.  It’s one of those topics that people mention to me all the time, and frankly I didn’t know what to say until I heard from Prof. Jackson.

This is about six minutes long, and I encourage you to make it all the way to the end of the clip, the story he shares in the second half of the clip is awesome and the reason I released this as two different clips. (To avoid confusion let me quickly add that earlier in his talk he explained that “yellow mice” have the same MC1R switch that redheads have.)

So there it is, there are in fact two different studies that give different information on the subject.  Anecdotally, one redhead told me that he woke up during surgery because he hadn’t been given enough anesthesia.  He said he was confused and punched the doctor, then he was jabbed by several different people with sedatives and didn’t wake up for a few days.

From my own history, I’ve never been afraid of the dentist.  Two years ago I had my first cavities.  Four of them.  I went in to get them filled not knowing what to expect.  The dentist asked me if I wanted the anesthesia.  I looked at her funny and asked, “Do I have a choice?”  She said that some people choose to do it without the novocaine.  I asked if it hurt, and she just smiled and said yes, but some people go without.  I figured what the hell, I’ve never liked taking drugs when I didn’t have to, so I said lets give it a whirl.  If the first one was too bad I could take novocaine for the other four.  It did hurt like hell, but I managed.  In each case my mind raced for a happy thought to focus on, and in the end, I relived the four happiest moments of my life.  It’s nice to know for sure what they are now.

Anyway, the guys as Mythbusters looked at one awhile back and here is what they found: