Bloody red-heads

Red-heads stand out from the crowd and this prominence is not just visual. They have a unique biology that somehow relates to the genetics that give them their flaming locks. A new study though has shown that at least one of the attributed differences may not be true at all.

Medical types have known for instance that due to a reduced pain threshold red-heads require more anaesthetic than their blonde, black, or brown-haired brothers and sisters. It has also been reported that red-heads are more likely to bleed excessively than other people. It is this bleeding hypothesis that has been tested in the most recent study.

Globally there are around one to two per cent of people who have red hair. This figure rises to between two to six per cent in the Northern Hemisphere and is at its highest in Scotland where as many as thirteen per cent of the population are red-headed with at least 40 per cent carrying the gene for red hair even if it is not expressed. So red-heads are a substantial group in the population.

In regards to the reputation for red-heads being more likely to be disposed to excessive bleeding, this means that surgeons must be wary when it comes to operating on those red-heads. To clarify this situation researchers examined the available scientific literature on the issue.

The news for surgeons and red-heads alike is that they found no significant evidence to suggest that red-heads are at a greater chance of excessive bleeding.

So people with red hair may need more anaesthetic and may be more sensitive to cold, heat and pain but they do not bleed more easily. Like all great discoveries, in retrospect it was bleeding obvious.

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The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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