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What Causes People to Go Bald? (Plus the Fascinating 'Science of Aging')

What Causes People to Go Bald? (Plus the Fascinating 'Science of Aging')

You might have heard that to determine the future of your hairline, you simply have to look at your mother's father. But is this true?

ASAP Science tackles the issue in its latest episode.

Hair loss has been determined to be primarily a sex-linked trait, meaning it is passed down on either the X or Y chromosome. The gene for hair loss does in fact reside on the X chromosome. For males, this means if your mother had the gene for genetic hair loss on both of her X chromosomes (females are XX, males are XY) and if you were a male, then you would be guaranteed to get it. If, on the other hand, only one of her X chromosomes had this gene, a son would have a 50/50 chance.

(Image: ASAP Science/YouTube screenshot)

But why is looking at your mother's father (your grandfather) often part of the saying as well? ASAP Science explains that if he exhibits baldness that it would indicate your mother has at least one copy of the X chromosome with this trait.

(Image: ASAP Science/YouTube screenshot)

This sex-linked gene, although studies have found it highly influential as it relates to hair loss, is not the only factor. ASAP Science discusses briefly other studies that have found related genes on other chromosomes and how factors like diet and exercise impact hair loss as well.

(Image: ASAP Science/YouTube screenshot)

Watch the video:

As we're going down this road, how about aging in general? What is it that causes people to feel old in the first place? Last week, ASAP Science discussed what happens to the body scientifically as it ages:

NPR's Linton Weeks is asking a question about aging too: when exactly does someone become elderly?

"A recent New York Times story calls a 69-year-old woman elderly. Philadelphia Metro considers 70 to be elderly. When NPR ran a story recently about a 71-year-old midwife, some readers objected to the word "elderly" in the original headline," Weeks wrote.

Elderly, Weeks said, is becoming like many other words "politically incorrect." He continues on detailing the historical definitions of the word, how other cultures and religions view it as a title to be respected, and why, perhaps, it has a negative connotation today.

All-in-all though, Weeks concludes "'elderly' may be more a state of being — or feeling — than a certain age. And the question may not be whether someone else thinks of you as elderly, but whether you think of yourself as elderly."


Featured image via Shutterstock.com.

(H/T: GeekOSystem)

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