ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret
Maggots as Good as Gel in Leg Ulcer Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Barefoot Lifestyle Has Its Dangers
Gene Therapy May Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis
Low Vitamin D Raises Women's Hip Fracture Risk
CANCER
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
CAREGIVING
3 Steps Might Help Stop MRSA's Spread
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
Hispanic Children More Likely to Have Hearing Loss
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
DIABETES
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Vitamin D Vital for the Heart
Trans Fat Labeling Gets Tricky
Mediterranean Diet Enriched With Nuts Cuts Heart Risks
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Is It Safe to Go in the Gulf Coast's Water?
Pollution Particles Impair Blood Vessel Function
Lead Exposure in Childhood Linked to Criminal Behavior Later
EYE CARE, VISION
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Americans Losing Sight of Eye Health
Action-Filled Video Games Boost Adult Vision
FITNESS
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Asparagus May Ease Hangover
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
Can You Talk Your Way to Happy?
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Help Your Kids Stay Active
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
Optimism May Boost Immune System
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
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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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