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Genetic Study Predicts Risks of Getting Bald

17 February 2017

Finding what genes are at the root of hair loss in men could lead to treatments that not only put fur back on top but also prevent serious diseases. About 16,700 of the men do not have any issues with baldness, while 12,000 of the men have slight hair loss and 14,000 others have moderate hair loss, with 9,800 victims of severe hair loss, NBC News explained. According to the study, for instance, there is "a degree of overlap" between hair and height, with balder men tending toward a shorter stature.

"We are still a long way from making an accurate prediction for an individual's hair-loss pattern".

It is thought to be caused by oversensitive hair follicles, linked to having too much of a certain male hormone. Using data from over 52,000 participants throughout the United Kingdom, ages from 40 to 69 years old, the researchers were able to identify more than 250 independent genetic markers associated with hair loss.

The study is the largest genetic analysis of male pattern baldness to date. More accurate predictions are still undergoing experimentation to be able to help identify sub-groups of the population that have a higher risk of losing their hair.

Scientists analyzed the genomic and health data of more than 52,000 men enrolled in the UK Biobank - an worldwide health resource offering health information on more than 500,000 individuals. "However, these results take us one step closer", study co-author Riccardo Marioni, of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, said in a statement.

The researchers examined the genetic and health records of the men within the UK Biobank to pinpoint the link between them. "The findings pave the way for an improved understanding of the genetic causes of hair loss".

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Earlier studies have pointed to eight predictable markers of hair loss in men. Part of the formula was based on genetic markers that were absent or present in the genes.

These could be potential targets for drug development to treat baldness or related conditions.

The trawl though all of the mens' genes found 40 linked with baldness on the X chromosome.

Perhaps the most well-known side effect of balding is emotional: "Living with male pattern baldness can be stressful and embarrassing", the study says.

"It was interesting to find that numerous genetic signals for male pattern baldness came from the X chromosome, which men inherit from their mothers", Hagenaars said in a statement.

Genetic Study Predicts Risks of Getting Bald