Melbourne: Melbourne researchers have dispelled the myth that redheads are more resistant to anaesthetic drugs and therefore more likely to experience awareness during surgical procedures.They say that people with burnished locks do not behave similarly as their blond, brown or black-haired friends when they have anaesthesia in surgery.Smaller studies of about 10 healthy, young volunteers and research involving animals had previously shown a link between red hair and anaesthesia resistance, said Melbourne anaesthetist Professor Paul Myles.Prof Myles, from The Alfred hospital and Monash University, led a large study of 468 healthy adult patients undergoing elective surgery to investigate the theories further.“Anaesthetists have been told for a number of years that redheads are problematic, more troublesome and need more anaesthesia,” a newspaper quoted Prof Myles as telling a foreign news agency.“We found in fact that redheads behave basically exactly the same as everyone else when they have anaesthesia in surgery.“I would hope that it relieves anxiety for those that think redheads are more trouble,” he added.The difference between the recent study and previous research is that Prof Myles` team conducted its investigations on real patients, while earlier studies used animals or healthy volunteers.Prof Myles noted, however, the results don`t dispel the possibility that genetic mechanisms related to hair and skin colour is still involved in the way anaesthetic drugs work.
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