Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Pollution leads to baldness - research

Wotta lotta crap! Men living in polluted areas are probably different in many ways. Poorer, for a start. How do we know whether or not any of the other differences are to blame for the baldness? Perhaps being bald reduces your chances, makes you poorer and sends you to live in more polluted areas. It's all mere epidemiological speculation again

TO the follicly-challenged who've tried gels, drugs and even a transplant with little joy, the research will come as a breath of fresh air. A study suggests that men living in polluted areas are more likely to go bald than those who enjoy living in a cleaner atmosphere. The discovery raises the prospect that yet more treatments for the often confidence-sapping condition could be developed.

Academics at the University of London linked the onset of male-pattern baldness to environmental factors, such as air pollution and smoking. They believe toxins and carcinogens found in polluted air can stop hair growing by blocking mechanisms that produce the protein from which hair is made. Baldness is known to be hereditary, but research suggests environmental factors could exacerbate hair loss.

Male-pattern baldness, which affects two-thirds of men, usually develops gradually, typically starting with the appearance of a bald spot in the crown and thinning of the temples.

Mike Philpott, of the school of medicine at Queen Mary, University of London, said: "We think any pollutant that can get into the bloodstream or into the skin and into the hair follicle could cause some stress to it and impair the ability of the hair to make a fibre. There are a whole host of carcinogens and toxins that could trigger this." The study was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.


Breastfed kids 'smarter'

The authors below are right to mention social factors. Mothers who were singled out may have given their child more attention and that could have been the effective factor. This is only a first approximation to a control-group study

And note a rather pesky finding for the breastfeeding enthusiasts. A study found that breastfeeding is helpful in only some cases. And it does appear to be a very well-controlled study. The abstract is here. The authors do however rather overgeneralize the significance of their findings. The last sentence of their abstract is particularly silly. It is: "It also shows that genes may work via the environment to shape the IQ, helping to close the nature versus nurture debate". Nobody has ever questioned that IQ is a product of both genes and the environment -- but you do have to have the right genes to start with for an optimal result. The study would in fact appear to have identified one of the genes concerned

MOTHERS who breastfeed their children can expect them to grow up smarter than their formula-fed peers, say Canadian researchers in a study of lactation, released today. The study published in this month's issue of Archives of General Psychiatry found breastfeeding raises a child's IQ and improves his or her academic performance. "Our study provides the strongest evidence to date that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding makes kids smarter,'' said lead investigator Michaelo Kramer, of McGill University in Montreal.

His team followed 13,889 infants born between June 1996 and December 1997 at 31 Belarussian maternity hospitals and clinics for six-and-a-half years. Half of the mothers were encouraged to breastfeed exclusively and for a prolonged period, while the other half were not. The children's cognitive abilities were later assessed using IQ tests and based on their early grades at school. On average, the breastfed group scored better in all tests, and "significantly higher'' in both reading and writing.

Mr Kramer said, however, it is still unclear if the cognitive benefits of breastfeeding are due to the makeup of breast milk itself or the social and physical interactions between mother and child inherent in breastfeeding. In the study, he suggests the higher frequency and duration of breastfeeding compared to bottle-feeding results in increased verbal interaction between mother and child, which "might also have a stimulatory effect on cognitive development''.

Other studies, he also points out, have shown that a mother rat's grooming and licking of its pups has long-term behavioural effects on its offspring.



Anonymous said...

Ha ha, this is funny. Women have A/B and C categories of men, hard-wired into their head. C are the pussy-whipped worshipful type of men that most cut women use as fake dates, never getting sexual, but indeed ordering expensive bottles of wine with dinner. A is the "alpha male", the traveling rock star or soldier type who through a handicap effect is "intriguing" (in the taking off their shirts and screaming sense) who she knows she cannot turn into a husband, but who can likely become impregnated anyway to cuckold a B male, a "beta male" who is your typical mild-mannered "nice guy" who makes an adequate income and doesn't have the personality type that attracts resource stealing gold-diggers since he really does have a pair-bond with his wife.

Two awful facts and one good one present themselves though, the rare exemptions proving theses rules. First, women secretly DESPISE low resource (in debt) "beta males" who try to buy their favor with dinner and traval. Second, women LACK a category for "respected man" who they do not lust for sexually. That means Platonic friendship is extremely rare between confident men and women. Finally, an older short bald man who is ALSO confident, calmly affectionate, and self-satisfied is EVEN MORE fascinating to most women than an average "tall, dark handsome" polite young man. This is the classic "handicap effect". Why? Because, by rights, by stereotype, most non-athletic, usually needy and resentful looking short old bald guys become literal stalkers if a cute young girl "accidently bumps into him" and thus meets him. So to witness a socially handicapped (short, bald, old) man who seems to be having the time of his life, makes women horny.

Anonymous said...

Google Invited Seminar on Nutrition:

This is 40 minutes plus a long question session, but the guy has a great phrase, used over and over: "Nutritionism."

He buys into trans fats hysteria, but other than that it's healthy skepticism, equating modern Nutrition Science ("fats in general are bad") with surgery in the 1600s.

Google has a trick. It scoops kids up straight out of school and retains not only a living (long hours) environment, but holds regular invited lectures, to simulate a campus environment...AND gives them better food than they've every had. In NYC their chef used to work for the Grateful Dead rock band.

"We eat a fifth of our food in our car today. I also advice: don't get your food where you get gas for you car. You don't want to be on the same food chain as your car."

"Now you can leave the Western diet without leaving civilization, and eat better, and enjoy it more too, because pleasure is a very important part of this. We should be eating for pleasure, we should be eating for community."

He's an organic nut though. But he NAILS how cheap highly processed food is subsidized in the USA, as well. Then he circles around and nails "organic" meat as being non–grass fed crap.

Basically though, it's a wonderful example of classic open-debate science, humor included.