Short men may have an increased risk of becoming bald prematurely. An international genetic study under the leadership of the University of Bonn at least points in this direction. During the study, the scientists investigated the genetic material of more than 20,000 men. Their data show that premature hair loss is linked to a range of various physical characteristics and illnesses. The work was published online on March 8, 2017 in Nature Communications. The open-access article is titled “Meta-Analysis Identifies Novel Risk Loci and Yields Systematic Insights into the Biology of Male-Pattern Baldness.” It has already long been known that men with premature hair loss suffer from heart diseases and prostate cancer somewhat more often. The new genetic data now confirm suspicions that there are further connections to other characteristics and illnesses. In their study, the researchers analyzed genetic data from approximately 11,000 men with premature baldness. Approximately12,000 men with no hair loss served as a control. The participants came from seven different countries. “We were thus able to identify 63 alterations in the human genome that increase the risk of premature hair loss,” explains Dr. Stefanie Heilmann-Heimbach. The human geneticist at the University of Bonn is one of the lead authors of the international study. “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.” The genetic findings also confirm 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.
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