Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Gravity theory' may explain male pattern baldness

Date:
October 30, 2013
Source:
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Summary:
The effects of gravity may explain the apparently paradoxical effects of testosterone in male pattern baldness, or androgenic alopecia, according to new research.

The effects of gravity may explain the apparently paradoxical effects of testosterone in male pattern baldness, or androgenic alopecia (AGA), according to a special topic paper in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery -- Global Openฎ, the official open-access medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

The "force of downward pull caused by the gravity on the scalp skin" is the key contributor to the events leading to progressive hair loss in male pattern baldness, writes Dr. Emin Tuncay Ustuner, a plastic surgeon in Ankara, Turkey. He adds, "The new theory's unparalleled ability to explain even the details of the hair loss process and the formation of the pattern in AGA is apparent."

"Gravity Theory" Helps Explain DHT's Role in Androgenic Alopecia Dr. Ustuner's theory seeks to reconcile some puzzling observations related to the development and progression of AGA. Balding areas of the scalp show increases in a potent form of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), while drugs that block conversion of testosterone to DHT can slow hair loss.

In the scalp, DHT seems to cause hair follicles to become thinner. But in other areas of the body, such as the underarms and genital area, DHT and other male sex hormones promote thickening of hair follicles. Why should DHT affect scalp hair one way but hair in other areas in a different way? And why does balding -- and the associated increase in DHT levels -- occur only on the top of the head?

The answer, Dr. Ustuner believes, is the weight of the scalp on the hair follicles. In youth, the scalp has sufficient fat tissue under the skin, and it is "capable of keeping itself well-hydrated," buffering the pressure on hair follicles. But with aging, the skin and underlying (subcutaneous) fat become thinner, and the pressure on the hair follicles increases. Testosterone contributes to thinning of the subcutaneous fat. In women, estrogen prevents thinning of these cushioning tissues, at least until menopause.

Aging and Testosterone-Related Changes Create 'Vicious Circle' Leading to Hair Loss As the cushion decreases, the hair follicle must strive against higher pressure, requiring more testosterone to achieve normal growth. This "local demand" leads to a buildup of DHT levels in the scalp, but not in the bloodstream. Rising DHT levels cause further erosion of the subcutaneous fat -- creating a "vicious circle," according to Dr. Ustuner.

The hair growth cycle accelerates in response to DHT, but it's not enough to overcome the increased pressure. Over time, the hair follicle becomes smaller and smaller, resulting in progressively increasing hair loss.

If the pressure created by the weight of the scalp is the cause of balding, then hair loss should occur at the top of the head -- "This is exactly what happens in AGA," Dr. Ustuner points out. He believes that individual hair loss patterns are affected by differences in the shape of the head, reflecting variations in scalp pressure. The weight of the facial soft tissues adds to the pressure at the front of the scalp, contributing to hair loss there. In contrast, the ears help resist the effects of gravity on the scalp, lessening hair loss on the sides of the head.

"There is not another theory that reasonably and satisfactorily explains hair loss in AGA without ascribing a function to DHT that is opposite to its known function," Dr. Ustuner writes. He notes that, while several factors suggest that genetic factors contribute to male pattern baldness, the increase in scalp DHT levels "is not an occurrence directly determined by genes."

Dr. Ustuner acknowledges that his "gravity theory" of AGA has met with "notable skepticism and resistance." But he adds, "Simplifying a very complicated problem is probably the only disadvantage of the theory."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Emin Tuncay Ustuner. Cause of Androgenic Alopecia. Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Global Open, 2013; 1 DOI: 10.1097/GOX.0000000000000005

Cite This Page:

Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. "'Gravity theory' may explain male pattern baldness." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131030092856.htm>.
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (2013, October 30). 'Gravity theory' may explain male pattern baldness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131030092856.htm
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. "'Gravity theory' may explain male pattern baldness." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131030092856.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 28, 2014) — The World Health Organisation has called for the regulation of electronic cigarettes as both tobacco and medical products. Ciara Lee looks at the impact of the move on the tobacco industry. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — CDC director Tom Frieden says the Ebola outbreak is even worse than he feared. But he also said there's still hope to contain it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How A 'Rule Of Thumb' Could Slow Down Drinking

How A 'Rule Of Thumb' Could Slow Down Drinking

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — A study suggests people who follow a "rule of thumb" when pouring wine dispense less than those who don't have a particular amount in mind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins