ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Know Your Asthma Triggers
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Study Examines How Rheumatoid Arthritis Destroys Bone
More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
CANCER
Gene Studies Reveal Cancer's Secrets
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
CAREGIVING
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
DIABETES
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Lots Of Vegetables, Olive Oil May Extend Life
For Fitness, Cutting Calories May Not Be Enough
Even in 'Last Supper,' Portion Sizes Have Grown
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
What's Cookin'? It Could Be Air Pollution
Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Used Legs and Arms Like Birds
Controversial Chemical Lingers Longer in the Body
EYE CARE, VISION
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
FITNESS
Run for Your Life
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
Good Warm-Ups Could Halve Sports Injuries
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Dr Churchill & Ashley Pelton Interview 1 of 4
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
SENIORS
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
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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