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Why redheads feel less pain, according to scientists

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Why redheads feel less pain, according to scientists

They may be ginger — but their skin isn’t.

In a seemingly paradoxical study, US researchers found that redheads have a preternaturally high pain tolerance — wait for it — due to a mechanism that ups their susceptibility to sunburns.

“These findings describe the mechanistic basis behind earlier evidence suggesting varied pain thresholds in different pigmentation backgrounds,” said Dr. David Fisher of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Massachusetts. He led the fiery study published in the journal Science Advances.

The research found that the cells that determine skin color — called melanocytes — play a large role in deciding how people experience pain.

As fire-haired folks boast a faulty melanocyte, they can’t process enough dark pigment to tan, which has the added effect of elevating their threshold for hurt.

Not to worry, no Ron Weasleys were harmed in the name of science. An examination of red-furred mice revealed that their melanocytes functioned similarly to that of rust-headed humans.

Like all people, those with crimson curls — the rarest hair color — boast a melanocyte receptor called melanocortin 1, whose primary directive is determining when the body produces dark brown and black coloration, the Daily Mail reported.

However, in redheads the receptor doesn’t function, which makes their pallid skin virtually unable to bronze as well as more vulnerable to sunburn.

Fortunately, despite their increased sun-sensitivity, these “vermillionhairs” are also less likely to feel the burn.

The aforementioned screwy receptors reduce the production of a chemical called POMC, causing lower levels of various hormones. This in turn, brings about equilibrium between pain-inhibiting and pain-enhancing receptors, boosting the function of the pain-dulling opioid sensors not manufactured by the skin color cells.

As a result, redheads have a higher pain tolerance than their blond and brunette brethren.

The goal of the research is not to confirm the “South Park” stereotype that gingers have freaky superpowers (even if they’re scientifically proven to smell sexier, among other special abilities).

Rather, “understanding this mechanism provides validation of this earlier evidence and a valuable recognition for medical personnel when caring for patients whose pain sensitivities may vary,” said Dr. Fisher.

The Scut Farkuses of the world aren’t the only ones who can endure abnormal levels of abuse. A 2019 study found that women are the superior sex when it comes to processing agony that occurred in the past.

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School raising funds for beloved service dog’s surgeries

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School raising funds for beloved service dog's surgeries

A Maine elementary school is rallying to give a beloved service dog a new leash on life.

Ory, a 16-month-old professional pup who works in the Willard School’s special education department, was diagnosed with hip dysplasia, degenerative hips, and torn ACLs in both knees, according to WMTW.

Ory works with special needs students at the school, helping to calm them during moments of emotional turmoil.

Now the Sanford community is pitching in to help fund the three surgeries that are needed to get her back in the classroom.

“Ory has had a rough go of it as she has already had ectopic ureter surgery in the fall and has recovered well from it,” a GoFundMe page aiming to raise $20,000 for the dog reads.

“The [hip] surgery] will ensure Ory [lives] a long, healthy and fulfilling life free from pain,” Jess Jones, an Ed Tech at the Willard School, wrote.

By Thursday night, more than three quarters of the funds had been raised, and a paw-fect ending was in sight.

“Ory will be meeting with her surgeon on Monday for a consultation,” an update from the grateful organizer read.

“She’s only 16 months and she deserves that opportunity to have a great life. The vet said her life will be amazing once this is done and dealt with,” Christen Suratt, a teacher who works with Ory, told the local station.

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Study finds that blocking seats on planes reduces virus risk

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Study finds that blocking seats on planes reduces virus risk

A new study says leaving middle seats open could give airline passengers more protection from the virus that causes COVID-19.

Researchers said the risk of passengers being exposed to the virus from an infected person on the plane could be reduced by 23 percent to 57 percent if middle seats are empty, compared with a full flight.

The study released Wednesday supports the response of airlines that limited seating early in the pandemic. However, all US airlines except Delta now sell every seat they can and Delta will stop blocking middle seats on May 1.

The airlines argue that filters and air-flow systems on most planes make them safe when passengers wear face masks, as they are now required to do by federal regulation.

Researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kansas State University estimated how far airborne virus particles travel inside a plane. They used mannequins that emitted aerosol to measure the flow of virus particles through airline cabin mock-ups.

The study, however, did not take into account the wearing of face masks because it was based on a previous study done in 2017, before the pandemic.

Nor did it consider whether passengers are vaccinated against COVID-19. The CDC says vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves, although the agency still recommends against nonessential travel.

Airlines for America, a trade group for the largest US carriers, said airlines use several layers of measures to prevent the spread of the virus on planes, including face masks, asking passengers about their health and stepped-up cleaning of cabins. The group cited a Harvard University report funded by the airline industry as showing that the risk of transmitting the coronavirus on planes is very low.

Airlines were divided last year over filling middle seats. While Delta, Southwest, Alaska and JetBlue limited seating on planes, United Airlines never did and American Airlines only blocked seats for a short time. It was mostly an academic question, because relatively few flights last year were crowded. That is changing.

More than 1 million travelers have gone through US airports each day for the past month. While that is still down more than one-third from the same period in 2019, more flights now are crowded. Around Easter weekend, Delta temporarily filled middle seats to accommodate passengers whose original flights were canceled because of staffing shortages.

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Millennials can now afford homeownership, causing a shortage

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Millennials can now afford homeownership, causing a shortage

So close, and yet so far. 

As various factors finally make homeownership attainable for frequently maligned millennials, a new hurdle has appeared: Not enough houses to go around. 

According to recent findings by investment bank Jefferies, younger millennials between ages 25 and 29 are increasingly buying their first pads, and 30- to 34-year-olds are doing so at even higher rates, Insider reported. 

The only problem is there aren’t enough starter homes available, an issue that’s existed since before the coronavirus pandemic and is a result of profit-seeking real-estate investors buying the pads, increasingly expensive construction costs and more restrictive zoning rules. 

Despite being much less economically well-off than previous generations were at their age, millennials in fact led home-buying in 2020, significantly motivated by the pandemic. According to an Apartment List’s Homeownership report, 40 percent of the age group now own homes, while a Clever Real Estate survey notes that 30 percent started house-hunting earlier than planned due to COVID-19. 

But unless contractors can somehow quickly construct 2.5 million homes — the amount America is short on, according to Jefferies — in the next year, millennials may be left holding yet another form of unfortunate financial cards. 

In another recent real estate boom significantly inspired by the pandemic, sales of homes built more than 100 years ago rose by 16 percent in 2020 in the tri-state area compared to last year, with a median sale price of $236,000, The Post reported earlier this month. 

Not booming during that same period, however, were New York City pads, which saw a 6 percent overall sales decline. That trend has a few notable exceptions, however, including Brooklyn townhouses — for which demand is relatively sky-high.

“I have seen more demand for brownstones, too, especially in Brooklyn, where the market seems to be on fire. There is more demand for properties with outdoor space, and bigger apartments where buyers can carve out home office space as well,” Melissa Cohn, an executive mortgage banker at William Raveis Mortgage, told The Post this month.

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