ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Holistic Treatment for Candida Infection
Indigo Ointment Benefits Psoriasis Patients
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Genes May Help Drive Rotator Cuff Injury
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
Soccer's a Winner for Building Bone Health in Girls
CANCER
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
CAREGIVING
Robots May Come to Aging Boomers' Rescue
Study Links Pesticides to Birth Defects
Injected Medication Errors a Major Problem
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
DIABETES
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Eating Free Range
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Population-Based Strategy Urged to Cut U.S. Obesity Rate
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
EYE CARE, VISION
Americans Losing Sight of Eye Health
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
FITNESS
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
Any Old Cane Won't Do
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Countdown to Hair Loss
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
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
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
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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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