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Research Suggests Genetics Not to Blame for Hair Loss

20.09.2011 in HAIR LOSS SCIENCE

Hair loss may be more due to diet and stress than genetics, especially for women, a new study by the Korean Hair Research Society has found.

Both men and women run a high risk of losing their hair early even if there is no history of this in their family, the society said. It based its findings on a survey of 1,220 patients at 13 university hospitals in Korea.

Although a contentious issue, the general consensus among scientists today is that 90 percent of hair loss has its roots in genetic causes.

But the KHRS study on the association between hair loss and genetics found that some 41.8 percent of men, and 47.9 percent of women, said they are the only member of their families who suffer from hair loss. Family here means parents, grandparents, siblings and older relatives.

Among those who started losing hair before the age of 30, 31.5 percent said no one in their family had experienced this problem. In comparison, only 30.4 percent said there was a comparable history on their fathers’ side, while few cited the history on their mothers’ side.

“The study results contradict widely held beliefs, and show that there is little relationship between hair loss and family genes,” said KHRS President Kang Jin-soo.

“So people should be careful not to expose themselves to the kind of factors that can cause hair loss, such as mental stress and unhealthy diet regimens, as these seem to be the main reasons that people lose their hair at a relatively young age,” he added.

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Stress-blocking drug restores hair in bald mice

21.02.2011 in HAIR LOSS SCIENCE

US researchers studying the effects of stress on the gut may have stumbled on a chemical compound that stimulates hair growth.

Reuters, Monday 21 Feb 2011

US researchers studying the effects of stress on the digestive system may have stumbled on a chemical compound that stimulates hair growth.

By blocking a stress-related hormone linked with hair loss, mutant mice that made too much of the hormone were able to re-grow hair they had lost, the team reported on Wednesday in the online journal, Public Library of Science (PLoS) One.

The team injected these mice with a stress-blocking chemical compound called astressin-B, which blocks the action of the stress hormone CRF.

The mutant mice got a daily injection of the compound over 5 days, then the team measured the effects of this drug on their colons.

3 months later, their hair had all grown back. They were not distinguishable from their littermates, who were not genetically-altered.

So far, astressin-B has only been tested in genetically-altered mice to express a lot of stress hormone, and it is not clear if it would have any effect on humans.

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Scientists reconstruct ancient man from his own hair

11.02.2010 in HAIR LOSS SCIENCE
An artist's impression of the iceman: a Danish-led team of researchers has used remains found in permafrost at Qeqertasussuk, Greenland, in 1986, to study aspects of the Saqqaq culture.

An artist's impression of the iceman: a Danish-led team of researchers has used remains found in permafrost at Qeqertasussuk, Greenland, in 1986, to study aspects of the Saqqaq culture.

DICK AHLSTROM Science Editor

A few strands of hair was all it took for scientists to reconstruct both physical characteristics and a family tree for a man who lived in Greenland 4,000 years ago.

We know he was likely to have had brown eyes and type A positive blood. He had non-white skin and square front teeth shaped like shovels. These he used to chew up dinners heavily dependent on seal meat.

He had thick, dark hair but might have been unhappy to know he would be prone to early baldness.

All of this was gleaned when scientists used just a few tufts of hair to reconstruct a DNA profile of the man, named “Inuk” by the research team. The scant remains were dug out of the permafrost back in 1986 at Qeqertasussuk on the western edge of Greenland, according to the Danish-led research team which reported their discoveries this morning in the journal Nature.

The hairs are one of the very few examples of ancient human remains left behind by the Saqqaqs, the first humans to occupy Greenland. The freezing permafrost was enough to preserve Inuk’s DNA over the 4,000 years that it lay hidden in the soil with other waste next to a buried reindeer skull.

The team used the latest techniques to recover the DNA and ensure it was not contaminated with modern DNA. This is the first time that a near complete, high-quality genetic blueprint has been recovered from ancient human remains, the authors write.

It has also delivered an astounding avalanche of information about Inuk and the earliest human settlers in the North American Arctic.

The researchers were able to compare small lengths of Inuk’s DNA with modern human DNA to winkle out specific physical characteristics, for example hair and skin colour. The 4,000-year-old DNA told the team Inuk was slightly inbred, to the degree expected should two first cousins mate.

DNA from chromosome 16 told them that Inuk had a “dry type” of earwax, typical of Asian and Native American populations. The team also showed that he possessed both a metabolism and body mass index typical of a person adapted to living in a cold climate.

But the ancient DNA record told them more, settling a long-running dispute over the degree of relatedness between the Saqqaq people and modern Amerindians and Inuit.

Physical characteristics suggested they must be related but the DNA told a different story, one of a previously unknown human migration out of eastern Asia to the New World as many as 5,500 years ago.

Inuk’s DNA showed he was not closely related to Amerindians or Inuit but to Old World Arctic populations, the Koryaks and the Chukchis, the authors write.

This means there must have been a separate migration from Siberia into the New World, independent of the one that brought ancestors of the Inuit.

Effectively, this work shows that ancient DNA “can be used to identify important . . . traits of an individual from an extinct culture”, the authors conclude.

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Hair Cloning Not Yet Recommended by Researchers Who Developed the Technique

28.01.2010 in HAIR LOSS SCIENCE

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A hair cloning technique that regenerates dormant hair follicles to produce new growth is not being recommended by the researchers who demonstrated its potential, because it is still in the early stages of development and effective hair loss treatment options are already available.

(PRWeb UK) January 28, 2010 — Researchers and hair restoration surgeons Dr Gary Hitzig and Dr Jerry Cooley created a technique that multiplies the number of hair follicles in an area that had been dormant using an FDA-cleared wound healing powder, but they stipulate it is not fool-proof yet.

“It appears to stimulate copying or ‘cloning’ of surrounding tissue to fill in a defect. However, this does not always occur, and I am conducting research to determine the best way to use the ACell to maximise success,” Dr Cooley said.

ACell’s MatriStem MicroMatrix powder was traditionally intended for diabetic ulcers, second degree burns and surgical wounds, but researchers say it has the potential to cause site-specific tissue regeneration that could be useful in hair restoration surgery.

“We have made amazing breakthroughs using MatriStem as a hair cloning tool,” Dr Hitzig said. “We”ve been able to multiply the number of hair follicles growing in the recipient area, and as an added benefit are seeing faster hair growth. This new hair cloning technique also makes hair transplantation surgery less invasive.”

Presently there are many obstacles that prove challenging with this technique, but if the procedure becomes available it will involve surgical implantation of externally engineered tissue cells into the scalp, meaning one would have to lose their hair before doing anything about it.

While the results of preliminary studies prove promising and the technique could be beneficial for those who have run out of traditional hair for transplantation, Dr Cooley says hair cloning is not the cure for baldness yet.

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Cold, tired, weight gain, hair loss? Your thyroid may be culprit

25.01.2010 in HAIR LOSS SCIENCE

The United States has one of the highest obesity rates in the world, but an increase in increased waistlines isn’t completely due to fast-food diets and sedentary lifestyles.

Hypothyroidism is another disease on the rise in America, with more than 5 million people experiencing problems due to irregular levels in their thyroid glands.

Kent Holtorf

Kent Holtorf founded National Academy of Hypothyroidism

Though the butterfly-shaped neck gland is only 12-15 millimeters in average length, the thyroid produces powerful metabolism-regulating hormones that, when lowered, can cause weight gain, depression, fatigue, memory loss, chronic pain, hair loss, brain fog and anxiety.

Particularly at risk of hypothyroidism are yo-yo dieters, people with high-stress lifestyles and women older than 30. Pregnancy and menopause also cause low thyroid levels.

Still, some doctors tell patients symptoms like weight gain and depression can be resolved with regular exercise and healthy eating habits — cures that are ineffective in the case of hypothyroidism.

So, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists designated January as Thyroid Awareness Month, hoping to increase public knowledge about the disease. Oprah Winfrey has also discussed hypothyroidism on her television show and in her magazine after her diagnosis with the ailment.

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