Berlin: Short, fair men are more likely to go bald early, say scientists who have identified over 63 gene alterations that increase the risk of premature hair loss.
Some of these genomes are also associated with illnesses such as prostate cancer or characteristics such as small body size.
Researchers from University of Bonn in Germany analysed genetic data from more than 20,000 men, of which 11,000 men had premature baldness from seven different countries. Around 12,000 men with no hair loss served as a control.
“We were thus able to identify 63 alterations in the human genome that increase the risk of premature hair loss,” said Stefanie Heilmann-Heimbach of University of Bonn.
“Some of these alterations were also found in connection with other characteristics and illnesses, such as reduced body size, earlier occurrence of puberty and various cancers,” she added.
The genetic findings confirmed the link between hair loss and an increased risk of prostate cancer.
The link with heart disease is much more complicated.
Genes that reduce the risk were found along with genes that increase the risk, researchers said.
“We have also found links to light skin colour and increased bone density,” said Markus Noethen from the University of Bonn.
“These could indicate that men with hair loss are better able to use sunlight to synthesise vitamin D. They could also explain why white men in particular lose their hair prematurely,” he added.
The study was published in the journal Nature Communications. PTI
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