ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
CANCER
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
Vitamin C Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
Critically Ill Patients Lack Vitamin D
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
Caregivers Face Multiple Strains Tending Older Parents
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
DIABETES
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
DIET, NUTRITION
The Food Irradiation Story
Fruits, Vegetables, Teas May Cut Smokers' Cancer Risk
Eat Light - Live Longer
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Restaurant Sushi May Have More Mercury Than Store-Bought Fare
Bed Bugs Bring No Disease Danger
Short-Term Air Pollution Exposure May Damage DNA
EYE CARE, VISION
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
FITNESS
Fall Cleanup Is a Prime Time for Accidents
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
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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