ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Holistic Treatment for Candida Infection
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Human Ancestors Put Best Foot Forward 1.5M Years Ago
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
Vitamin K Doesn't Slow Bone Loss
CANCER
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
CAREGIVING
Injected Medication Errors a Major Problem
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
Caring for Aging Loved Ones Can Be a Catch-22
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
DIABETES
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
Iced Teas Pose High Risk of Kidney Stones
Eat Light - Live Longer
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Restaurant Sushi May Have More Mercury Than Store-Bought Fare
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
EYE CARE, VISION
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
Decorative Halloween Eye Lenses May Pose Serious Risks
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
FITNESS
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Food and Water Supply Poisoned by Perchlorate
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Eating Fish, Breast-Feeding Boost Infant Development
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
SENIORS
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Add your Article

Countdown to Hair Loss

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- Want to know how much hair you're losing?

Start counting -- the hairs on your comb, not on your head.

In the June issue of Archives of Dermatology, scientists demonstrate that a so-called "60-second hair count" is a simple and reliable away to get a grip on whether you're balding and, if so, how fast.

The procedure, which can be carried out in the convenience of your own home, may reassure the adult male -- or not.

"Hair loss is fraught with emotions... Here is a hair count that allows the person to get a handle as to what's going on with their hair," said Dr. Jeffrey Miller, senior author of the study and associate professor of dermatology at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Penn. "With something like the 60-second hair count, you can participate and monitor in an objective fashion what's going on with your hair."

"The reality is that hair loss is incredibly common among men and women. Fifty percent of both genders will have hair loss by the age of 50. That's a big number," added Dr. Doris Day, an attending physician in dermatology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "It affects how you're perceived, your ability to date and climb that corporate ladder."

Both the media and dermatology experts are fond of proclaiming that shedding 100 hairs a day is normal. (That's probably too high, Miller said.) But there is little scientific evidence for that number, which is based on the assumption that the average scalp holds 100,000 hairs, 10 percent of which are at any one time in the telogen, or resting, phase.

Not only do experts not know how much hair loss is normal, they also don't have any standardized way of assessing the amount of hair lost on an average day.

"We keep saying the same things over and over, that it's normal to lose 100 hairs a day," Day said. "The question is, how normal is it and what is normal in terms of hair loss."

The "wash test" involves washing one's hair over a sink five days after the last shampoo, a waiting period some might find objectionable.

A more up-to-date method is the 60-second hair count, used in this study.

Sixty healthy men aged 20 to 60 without evidence of baldness participated. All were white and all but one had straight hair. (The authors excluded, for the most part, men with curly hair and long hair "because of the difficulty of running a comb through the hair, which would lead to increased numbers of broken" hairs, which weren't counted.)

The men washed their hair three mornings in a row with Neutrogena T/Sal shampoo. On the fourth day, they were issued identical combs and instructed to comb their hair forward over a towel or pillowcase of contrasting color. They were then asked to count the hairs that had dropped out. This comb-and-count procedure was repeated on the next two days and the number of hairs was validated under a microscope.

After six months, the participants repeated the full procedure.

Based on these results, the authors concluded that losing 10 hairs is "normal." In younger men (aged 20 to 40), the shedding range was 0 to 78 hairs with a mean of 10.2 hairs. In the older men, the range was 0 to 43 hairs with a mean of 10.3 hairs.

Here are instructions on how to perform the count:

* Comb your hair for 60 seconds over a pillow or sheet of contrasting color before shampooing. Pull the comb from the back top of the scalp forward to the front of the scalp for 60 seconds. "That 60 seconds allows you to dislodge any of the resting hairs that are supposed to be shed," Miller said.
* Repeat the procedure before three consecutive shampooing sessions, always using the same comb.
* Count and record the number of hairs in the comb and on the pillow or sheet.
* Repeat the procedure every month and discuss results with your dermatologist.

The study was funded by Merck & Co. and Miller has received consulting fees from drug company Pfizer Inc.

The authors will be releasing comparable data for women in the near future, they said.

When to start panicking over hair loss? Miller counsels men who lose more than 50 hairs a day (as counted in the 60-second period) to check with their physician.

"The hair acts like a window to the inside of the body," he said. "If there's something going on inside the body that is not right, for example, low thyroid output or low iron, your hair can react by shedding more. So if you notice that you're shedding a lot of hair on the 60-second hair count, it would be worthwhile to be evaluated by physician to rule out underlying medical causes."

Sudden changes in the amount of hair you lose should also be evaluated, he said.

More information

Visit the American Academy of Family Physicians for more on hair loss.



SOURCES: Jeffrey J. Miller, M.D., department of dermatology, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Penn.; Doris Day, M.D., attending physician in dermatology, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; June 2008, Archives of Dermatology

Last Updated: June 16, 2008

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