ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Indigo Ointment Benefits Psoriasis Patients
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Chronic Low Back Pain Is on the Rise
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
CANCER
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Vitamin E, Selenium and Soy Won't Prevent Prostate Cancer
CAREGIVING
Few Hospitals Embracing Electronic Health Record Systems
Distance No Bar to Kidney Transplants in Remote Areas
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
DIABETES
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Six Healthy-Sounding Foods That Really Aren't
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Eating in America Still Unhealthy
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Topical Drugs May Pollute Waterways
Dementia Underestimated in Developing Countries
Artificial Light Linked to Prostate Cancer Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
FITNESS
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Tune Up Your Health With Music
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Combo Treatment Eases Wheezing in Babies
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
MEN'S HEALTH
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
MENTAL HEALTH
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
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New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered

SUNDAY, Oct. 12 (HealthDay News) -- New genetic links to male pattern baldness have been discovered by researchers in England and Germany.

It's the second genetic connection to the kind of hair loss that many men -- and women -- experience as they grow older, said Felix F. Brockschmidt, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bonn and one of the authors of a report published online Oct. 12 in the journal Nature Genetics.

"The first gene known until now is on the X chromosome," Brockschmidt said. "It is the most important for alopecia [hair loss]. We are sure that this new locus we found is the second most important."

The discovery could open the way for genetic tests to single out men most likely to lose hair as they age, Brockschmidt said. "Screening for the X chromosome locus and also for this new one can possibly show the risk of male pattern baldness," he said.

But whether something can be done to prevent hair loss in people with the gene variants is another story, Brockschmidt acknowledged. One of the new studies was financed, in part, by Glaxo SmithKline, a pharmaceutical company that might seek commercial benefit from its support. And one small company already markets a $149 genetic screening test for male pattern baldness.

That test looks at variants of a gene governing receptors for androgens, which are male hormones. That gene location, on the X chromosome, was identified only a few years ago. A man has only one copy of the X chromosome, inherited from his mother. The new gene locus is on chromosome 20. Men and women alike have two copies of chromosome 20, inherited from both father and mother.

Any preventive treatment is far in the future, Brockschmidt stressed. "As soon as we know the gene and how it functions, we can do something," he said. "Right now, we have identified the locus but not the gene."

The work done in Germany paralleled a study led by researchers at Kings College London, with the results of that study differing slightly. It included 1,125 men assessed for male pattern baldness. Two regions on chromosome 20 were found to be associated with the condition. And a further study of another 1,650 men found a sevenfold increase in the incidence of baldness in the one in seven men carrying variants in both the X chromosome and chromosome 20 regions.

The new results "are certainly putting us closer to a genetic test for developing alopecia," said Dr. George Cotsarelis, director of the Hair and Scalp Clinic at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

But, he added, a negative reading on such a test would be more informative than a positive result showing the presence of the baldness-related genes.

"If you don't have the genes, there is a negative predictive value of 96 percent," he said. "If you do have the genes, there is a positive predictive value of about 14 percent."

The currently marketed genetic test got a low grade from Cotsarelis. "It can predict baldness 60 percent of the time, and 50 percent of men will become bald," he said.

-Ed Edelson

More information

Learn more about what's known about male pattern baldness at the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Felix F. Brockschmidt, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, University of Bonn, Germany; George Cotsarelis, M.D., director, Hair and Scalp Clinic, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Oct. 12, 2008, Nature Genetics, online

Last Updated: Oct. 13, 2008

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