ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Holistic Treatment for Candida Infection
Maggots as Good as Gel in Leg Ulcer Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Vitamin D Plus Calcium Guards Against Fractures
Hip Replacement Boosts Mobility at Any Age
Breast-feeding Might Shield Women From Rheumatoid Arthritis
CANCER
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
Get to Know the Pap Test
Study Cites Gains in Gall Bladder Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
What Moms Learned May Be Passed to Offspring
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
DIABETES
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
DIET, NUTRITION
Mediterranean Diet May Help Prevent Depression
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Successful Weight Loss Shows Unique Brain Patterns
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Staying Slim Is Good for the Environment
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Is It Safe to Go in the Gulf Coast's Water?
EYE CARE, VISION
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
FITNESS
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Coffee Is Generally Heart-Friendly
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Eating Fish, Breast-Feeding Boost Infant Development
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'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
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
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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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