Does Men's Size Affect Early Hair Loss?
Many men are probably familiar with the following problem: hair ages in old age and some people even get bald early on. Researchers have now found that small men may be at increased risk of developing baldness early.
In a genetic international study, scientists at the University of Bonn found that small men often get bald early. In general, early hair loss is related to various diseases and body characteristics. The doctors published the results of their investigation in the journal "Nature Communications".
Researchers are studying the genetic makeup of more than 20,000 men
In the genetic study led by the University of Bonn, the experts examined the genetic makeup of more than 20,000 men. The data obtained showed that early hair loss is usually related to a number of factors. These include diseases, but various physical characteristics also affect the development of baldness, explain the doctors.
If men lose hair early, the risk of certain diseases increases
For example, it has long been known that men with early hair loss are more likely to develop heart disease and prostate cancer. New genetic data have now confirmed the assumption that there are further connections to heart disease and prostate cancer.
Subjects from seven countries were examined closely
In the current study, the experts analyzed the genetic data of around 11,000 male participants with early baldness. As a control, almost 12,000 men without hair loss were brought in again. All subjects came from seven different countries, the researchers report.
63 Genome changes increase the risk of premature hair loss
We identified 63 changes in the human genome. These increased the risk of premature hair loss, explains lead author and human geneticist Dr. Stefanie Heilmann-Heimbach in a press release from the University of Bonn.
Genome changes also caused other diseases
Some of these changes have also been found in connection with other characteristics and diseases. These include, for example, reduced body size. The early entry into puberty and various types of cancer are also related to the changes that have been identified, the doctors say.
Results show connection between hair loss and prostate cancer
The genetic results found also show a connection between hair loss and an increased risk of prostate cancer. Finding a possible connection with the occurrence of heart disease was far more complicated, according to the authors. Genes were found here that reduce the existing risk. But genes that can increase the risk have also been found, the scientists write.
White men in particular develop baldness early on
In addition, additional connections to lighter skin color and increased bone density could be determined, explains Professor Dr. Markus Nöthen. The expert is director of the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Bonn. These compounds may indicate that men with hair loss can use sunlight better for vitamin D synthesis. This could also explain why white men in particular suffer from early baldness, the expert adds.
Immune and fat cells in the scalp are involved in hair loss
By identifying the genes involved in the current study, it was possible to gain new insights into the biological causes of hair loss. Apparently, in addition to the cells of the hair follicle, immune and fat cells in the scalp are also involved in hair loss, the authors of the University of Bonn report.
More research is needed
So far, however, there is only a basic understanding of which molecular mechanisms lead to the connection between premature hair loss and other diseases. Further studies must now examine the identified connections and the signaling pathways involved more precisely and in more detail.
People affected should not worry too much about their health
Men with early hair loss do not have to be concerned, explains the expert Professor Nöthen. The risks for the identified diseases are only slightly increased. It is interesting, however, that the hair loss that occurs is not an isolated feature. There are multiple relationships with other characteristics, the doctor adds. (as)