ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
Acupuncture Eases Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
CANCER
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
Smoking Exposure Now Linked to Colon, Breast Cancers
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
CAREGIVING
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
Older Caregivers Prone to Worse Sleep Patterns
Babies Born in High Pollen Months at Wheezing Risk
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
DIABETES
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
DIET, NUTRITION
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Milk Destroys Antioxidant Benefits in Blueberries
Fruit Even Healthier Than Thought: Study Shows
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Former Inmates at Increased Risk for High Blood Pressure
1976 Italian Dioxin Release Damaged Babies' Thyroids
Chemical in Plastics May Cause Fertility Problems
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
Action-Filled Video Games Boost Adult Vision
FITNESS
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Go To Work But Skip The Car
Soluble Fiber, But Not Bran, Soothes Irritable Bowel
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
MEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
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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