Genetic Markers Can Predict Male Pattern Baldness

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

But its study of more than 52,000 men through the UK Biobank offers some hope in identifying the genetic regions which cause it. Results showed that 80 percent of these men showed patterns of hair loss when they hit the age of 80 years.

A new study identifies more than 250 genetic locations responsible for male pattern baldness.

"We developed a prediction algorithm based entirely on common genetic variants that discriminated (AUC = 0.78, sensitivity = 0.74, specificity = 0.69, PPV = 59 percent, NPV = 82 percent) those with no hair loss from those with severe hair loss", scientists explained.

Among those with a genetic score in the top 10 per cent however, 58 per cent reported moderate to severe hair loss.

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

Scientists analyzed the genomic and health data of more than 52,000 men enrolled in the UK Biobank - an global health resource offering health information on more than 500,000 individuals. The real cause of hair loss is still unclear, but United Kingdom scientists might be one step closer to understanding why it's so prevalent. Some can blame their mothers, the researchers found.

Study joint leader Saskia Hagenaars, a PhD student at Edinburgh University's Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, said: "We identified hundreds of new genetic signals".

A study in PLOS Genetics says the genes were identified by analyzing data from more than 52,000 men between 40 and 69 years old, and can be used to predict baldness. Numerous identified genes are related to hair structure and development. Women can also be affected by hair loss and it is called female pattern hair loss.

The study's other lead author, Dr. David Hill, notes that the study did not collect data on the age of baldness onset, but only on hair loss pattern.

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". These genetic markers point to whether the average joe will lose his hair or not with the passage of time.

These could be potential targets for drug development to treat baldness or related conditions. The X chromosome was the main culprit behind male pattern baldness.

Forty of the genetic variations were located on the X chromosome, which men inherit from their mothers, the researchers said.

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