ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Maggots as Good as Gel in Leg Ulcer Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
Soccer's a Winner for Building Bone Health in Girls
Bone Density Predicts Chances of Breast Cancer
CANCER
Omega-3 May Safely Treat Precancerous Bowel Polyps
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
CAREGIVING
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
Hispanic Children More Likely to Have Hearing Loss
Study Casts Doubt on Influential Hospital Safety Survey
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
HELP TO LOSE WEIGHT ON A LOW CAL BUDGET
Holiday Eating Without the Guilt -- or the Pounds
Mediterranean Diet May Help Prevent Depression
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Disinfectants Can Boost Bacteria's Resistance to Treatment
Database Helps Assess Your Breast Cancer Risk
Rainy Areas in U.S. Show Higher Autism Rates
EYE CARE, VISION
Just Like Skin, Eyes Can 'Burn' in Strong Sun
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
FITNESS
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
As Temperature Plummets, It's Still Safe to Exercise
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Asparagus May Ease Hangover
Stressed and Exhausted: An Introduction to Adrenal Fatigue
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
SENIORS
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
Add your Article

Science May Banish Bad Hair Days

MONDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Whether it's frizzy or flyaway, nearly everyone puts up with an unruly head of hair from time to time. Now scientists have trained their microscopes on hair to find out why it misbehaves -- and how to tame it.

In a new study, said to be the first of its kind, German researchers say they've gotten extreme-close-up views of how hair fibers interact. Their insights could lead to products that banish bad hair days for good, they say.

"At the moment, it is not known why hair feels good," explained study co-author Eva Max, a doctoral student in chemistry at the University of Bayreuth in Germany. That, in turn, makes it difficult to scientifically study hair care products, which make up a $60 billion industry worldwide.

In the new study, Max and colleagues explored the workings of hair with an atomic-force microscope and samples of Caucasian female hair. The study authors were scheduled to present their findings Aug. 17 at the American Chemical Society's national meeting, in Philadelphia.

According to the team, damage to hair causes scaly projections to protrude from hair fibers. These projections create friction with other fibers and make hair feel rough to the touch and hard to comb.

The researchers also found that electrical charges build up on hair, causing friction.

The next step is to figure out what happens to the hair when it's exposed to hair-care products such as shampoo and conditioner.

"There are several changes that take place at the same time when hair is exposed to hair care products, and it will help greatly to understand which of those changes is crucial for optimizing hair care," Max said. "If, for example, it would turn out that there is an optimum friction between single hairs for pleasant (touch), the molecular composition of hair-care products can be optimized to achieve this friction."

Steven Shiel, who studies hair at Proctor & Gamble, said the German research could help shed more light on how hair fibers interact and lead to better hair care products. "Those invisible-to-the-eye changes have a great impact on how the ingredients in the products affect the hair," he said.

Hair styling products have become more sophisticated in recent years, and this has much to do with science, said Shiel, an associate director with P&G Beauty.

"A lot of this is based on this fundamental understanding of hair's underlying structure and properties," he said. "Fundamentally understanding the hair structure is really important in terms of developing products that really deliver."

-Randy Dotinga

More information

Learn about hair loss and disease from the National Institutes of Health.



SOURCES: Eva Max, doctoral student, University of Bayreuth, Germany; Steven Shiel, Ph.D., associate director, Proctor & Gamble Beauty, Cincinnati; Aug. 17, 2008, American Chemical Society National Meeting, Philadelphia

Last Updated: Aug. 18, 2008

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