ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
Varicose, Spider Veins May Be Inevitable for Some
CANCER
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
CAREGIVING
Are Hospital Mobile Phones Dialing Up Superbugs?
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
DIABETES
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
DIET, NUTRITION
Healthy Eating While On Vacation
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Clear Skies Have Become Less So Over Time, Data Show
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Global Warming Biggest Health Threat of 21st Century, Experts Say
EYE CARE, VISION
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
Contact Lens Cases Often Contaminated
FITNESS
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
Can You Talk Your Way to Happy?
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
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
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
MENTAL HEALTH
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Drink Away Dementia?
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
SENIORS
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
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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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