ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
Needling Away Your Headaches With Acupuncture
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
Healthy adults have potential autoimmune disease-causing cells
CANCER
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
CAREGIVING
Many Hospital Patients Can't ID Their Doctors
Study Casts Doubt on Influential Hospital Safety Survey
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
DIABETES
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Compound in Berries May Lessen Sun Damage
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Quick Weight Loss May Be Best for Long-Term Success
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
Restaurant Sushi May Have More Mercury Than Store-Bought Fare
Preparing for a Chlorine Gas Disaster
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
FITNESS
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Can a Bad Boss Make You Sick?
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
Irregular Heartbeat Tied to Alzheimer's Disease
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
MEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
SENIORS
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
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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