ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
Fruits and Veggies May Strengthen Bones
CANCER
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
CAREGIVING
Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome as Deadly as Ever
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
DIABETES
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Olive Oil May Be Key to Mediterranean Diet's Benefits
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Vitamin B12 Key to Aging Brain
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Staying Slim Is Good for the Environment
Gas Stove Emissions Boost Asthma in Inner-City Kids
EPA Alerts Seniors to Carbon Monoxide Dangers
EYE CARE, VISION
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
FITNESS
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Sun, Smoke, Extra Weight Add Years to Skin
New Methods Could Speed Production of Flu Vaccines
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Quick Orthopedic Repair Can Save Young Shoulders
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Optimism May Boost Immune System
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
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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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