ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Drinking Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
Fruits and Veggies May Strengthen Bones
Winter Is Tough on Feet
CANCER
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
CAREGIVING
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
Few Hospitals Embracing Electronic Health Record Systems
TV Watching Doesn't Fast-Track Baby's Skills
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
DIABETES
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
DIET, NUTRITION
10 Beginner Tips for Fast Weight Loss, the Low-Carb Way!
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
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
As Earth Warms, Lyme Disease Could Flourish
Walkable Neighborhoods Keep the Pounds Off
Database Helps Assess Your Breast Cancer Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
FITNESS
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Hidden Salt in Diet Haunts Many With Heart Failure
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
8 Drugs Doctors Would Never Take
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
MENTAL HEALTH
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
SENIORS
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
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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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