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New studies may reveal why redheads experience less pain

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A new study published on Friday reveals why redheads have altered their susceptibility to certain types of pain.

Conducted by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and published by Science Advances, the study shows how people experience pain due to certain factors associated with the cells that determine skin color (melanocytes). It suggests that it helps in deciding.

Previous studies have suggested that redheads are unable to tan or darken skin pigments due to an inactive mutant of the melanocyte receptor called melanocortin 1.

Studies now show that receptors also reduce the production of POMC, a chemical that lowers hormone levels, creating an equilibrium between pain-suppressing and pain-enhancing receptors. This gives red-haired people high pain tolerance, along with additional factors that activate opioid receptors involved in pain blockade. This study was conducted in a strain of red-haired mice lacking melanocortin 1 receptor function.

“These findings explain the basis of the mechanism behind previous evidence that suggests different pain thresholds in different pigmentation backgrounds,” said David Fisher, director of the Mass General Cancer Center’s melanoma program. Stated in a statement. “Understanding this mechanism provides valuable insights for this early evidence and for healthcare professionals in caring for patients with potentially different pain sensitivities.”

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