Tuesday, March 16, 2010
A receding hairline can be a good thing, according to scientists, who say men who go bald by 30 appear to be less likely to develop prostate cancer
Researchers studied 2,000 men aged between 40 and 47. They were able to link high levels of the male hormone testosterone in those who lose their hair earlier with a lower risk of tumors. Half of the men in this study had suffered prostate cancer. Researchers compared the rate of tumors in those who said their hair had thinned by the age of 30 with those who did not suffer hair loss. Men who had started to develop bald spots on the top of their heads as well as receding hairlines had a 29% to 45% reduction in the risk of prostate cancer. By age 30, approximately 25-30% of men will have some baldness, researchers believe. Half of all men suffer significant hair loss by the age of 50. Baldness is caused when hair follicles become exposed to too much dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This is a chemical produced by the male hormone testosterone. Experts believe that men with high levels of testosterone are more likely to lose their hair, especially if baldness runs in the family. Prostate cancer sufferers are often given drugs to reduce testosterone levels because they can accelerate the growth of some tumors once they develop. But this study suggests that high levels of testosterone from a young age might protect against the disease.