2009年8月19日 格林尼治标准时间16:28北京时间00:28

Redheads and Pain 红发人和疼痛

By Matt McGrath, BBC Science Reporter

A man with red hair

Ow, that hurts.


Background: 红头发的人是不是更怕疼呢?美国牙科协会杂志发表的一项调查研究认为,由于人体基因的不同对红头发的人进行麻醉难度较大。出于此因红发人和金发,棕发或黑发的人比,更不愿意去看牙医。请听记者Matt McGrath的报道,他本人也是红头发。

We redheads are well known for our fiery tempers. Now it seems there is scientific backing for our ginger whingeing as well.

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Scientists in the United States studied a group of 144 dental patients almost half of whom had red hair. They found that the red-haired group were more sensitive to pain and as a result were twice as likely to avoid visiting the dentist.

Previous research had shown that gingers were more resistant to the effects of local anaesthesia than people with other hair colours.

The scientists say that this red-haired sensitivity to pain stems from the actions of a gene called MC1R. This is responsible for the production of melanin which gives skin and hair its colour. In about five percent of white people the gene is mutated leading to freckles, fair skin and red hair.

Chris Evans and Geri Halliwell

Two famous gingers

Researchers say there are some receptors of this gene in the brain and that this could affect pain sensitivity.

Professor Daniel Sessler from the Cleveland Clinic in the United States is one of the authors of the study. He says the research is a considerable scientific breakthrough.

"Red hair is the first phenotype of anaesthetic requirement in humans. And what I mean by phenotype is an external characteristic.

"So lets say you are walking down the street and you see someone who's a little older and a little younger - that tells you nothing about their anaesthetic requirement. You see a man and a woman - that tells you nothing about their anaesthetic requirement. But you see a redhead - aha! You know that person is going to require 20 percent more general anaesthesia."

From my own personal experience I would say that there is some merit to this idea. I have found that I have had to ask dentists for extra anaesthetic in the middle of procedures.

Some dentists argue that a greater sensitivity to pain might actually benefit redheads and drive them to see the dentist more quickly. In my own case I can attest that is definitely not true.

Glossary 词汇表 (收听发音, 请单击英语单词)

Questions

1. Which two words are used to describe someone with red hair in the report?

Redhead and ginger.

2. Are people with red hair more or less sensitive to pain?

According to scientists in the US, redheads are more sensitive to pain.

3. What happens when the gene MC1R is mutated?

It can lead to freckles, fair skin and red hair.

4. Does the reporter himself visit the dentist as soon as he feels pain?

No.

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