Genetic Test Could Predict Your Risk of Going Bald

Half of British men can expect to lose their hair by their 50th birthday with male pattern baldness the most common cause

Half of British men can expect to lose their hair by their 50th birthday with male pattern baldness the most common cause

The British study found that genes are linked to male sex hormones, such as androgen, with other genes relating to hair structure and development. Using this formula, they were able to make some predictions whether a man would face the problem of hair loss in the future.

A genomic study of baldness identified more than 200 genetic regions involved in this common but potentially embarrassing condition. According to the study, for instance, there is "a degree of overlap" between hair and height, with balder men tending toward a shorter stature.

Hair loss can be concerning for both men and women and while stress has been attributed as one of the contributing factors, a new research suggests that the clue could lie in our genetic makeup. Most are fated to at least have their hair thin out. A new study from the University of Edinburgh has identified 287 genetic regions linked to baldness, a lot of them related to hair structure and development. Close to 300 genetic regions tied to male pattern baldness have been identified, according to a study published online February 14 in PLOS Genetics. Accurate predictions for a single individual are still some way off, but the results can quickly help to identify sub-groups of the of the population for which the risk of hair loss is much higher.

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When compared with men's medical records, those in the top 10 per cent for these genes had moderate to severe hair loss in nearly two-thirds of cases. "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 study is the largest genetic analysis of male pattern baldness to date. "The findings pave the way for an improved understanding of the genetic causes of hair loss". They pinpointed 287 genetic regions linked to the condition. Of the men included in the study, 16,700 showed no hair loss, 12,000 slight lost hair, 14,000 showed moderate hair loss while 9,800 displayed severe hair loss. This will be based on the presence or absence of genetic markers present in men.

Forty of the genetic variations were located on the X chromosome, which men inherit from their mothers, the researchers said. More to the point for those anxious about it is the second half of this sentence: "The results of this study might help identify those at greatest risk of hair loss, and also potential genetic targets for intervention", says a study co-author, per NBC News.

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