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New Gene Research Could Reveal the Causes of Hair Loss
by April Maguire
Hair loss may be a generally accepted part of getting older, but that doesn't make it any less annoying or embarrassing. If we all had our way, we'd have healthy, flowing locks for the rest of our lives. Still, baldness is problem that most men will have to deal with at some point in their lives. In fact, by the age of 60, nearly 70% of men are face with a significant amount of hair thinning or loss.
For years, experts have known that the overwhelming majority of this hair loss was due to genetic factors. For example, the most common cause of hair loss for both men and women, known as androgenic alopecia or male/female pattern baldness, is due to inborn genetics that cause follicles to shrink and hair to thin. Still, not much has ever been known about the specific genes that are linked to hair loss.
All of that is about to change, however, as a revolutionary new study was recently published in PLOS Genetics which details dozens of areas in our genetic code that are directly or indirectly linked to hair loss.
Nearly 300 Regions
For the study, the research team from Scotland looked at genetic data from over 50,000 men, making it the largest study of its kind ever performed. Prior to this study, scientist had only pinpointed a small handful of genetic regions that can affect hair loss. Shockingly, however, the researchers in this study identified more than 280 areas in the genetic code that can case men to suffer from a significant amount of hair loss.
Perhaps not surprisingly, many of these genetic markers were found on the X chromosome of the body, which is the chromosome that comes from the mother. So if you've ever heard that hair loss comes from the mom, it's likely true. Additionally, the research team discovered that the majority of genetic areas deal with the development and structure of the hair, which makes sense logically. After all, it's easy to see how faulty genetic code in these regions could lead to hair loss.
The Next Steps
Unfortunately, as sweeping as this study was, it doesn't tell scientists everything they need to know about the linkage between genetics and hair loss. For example, this study didn't look at subjects' ages when hair loss started, making it difficult to pinpoint how closely related these genetic regions are to hair loss. Also, just because scientists know what genes cause hair loss, that doesn't mean that a cure for baldness is on the horizon anytime soon.
Still, the information derived from this study is invaluable in understanding the underlying causes of hair loss. With more research in this area, scientists will get better about predicting hair loss earlier and finding ways to stop it in its tracks.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hair loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!