ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
A Winning Strategy to Beat Spring Sporting Injuries
Stem Cells Might Treat Tough Fractures
CANCER
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Vitamin C Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
With Alzheimer's, Health-Care Costs Could Triple
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
DIABETES
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Coffee Drinking Lowers Women's Stroke Risk
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Database Helps Assess Your Breast Cancer Risk
FDA Faulted for Stance on Chemical in Plastics
Chemical in Plastics May Cause Fertility Problems
EYE CARE, VISION
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
FITNESS
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Hoping for a Happy Family Holiday? Here's How
Can You Talk Your Way to Happy?
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Vitamin B3 May Help Repair Brain After a Stroke
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Dangerous Toys Still on Store Shelves, Report Finds
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
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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