Grey Hair Is Linked To Reduced Cancer Risk

grey hairGrey hair causes plenty of negative emotions and distress to those who have it because silver lining is considered one of the most common signs of aging. Sometimes, as a result of stresses, hormonal imbalances, excessive exposure to certain chemicals or radiation, people start having grey hair as early as in their early twenties. It is supposed that those with dark and thick hair are more inclined to having grey hair, though this is nothing else but visual effects since grey hair definitely becomes more visible in those with black or dark hair. Most of us are convinced that grey hair has nothing positive and brings only sadness, the findings of a study by a group of Japanese experts say the opposite. The experts say that silver strands have an awesome benefits since it can be linked to reduced cancer risk, both in men and women of any age.

These are the conclusions of a group of experts from Tokyo Medical and Dental University in Japan, who conducted a series of experiments with lab rats. They exposed the animals to excessive amounts of radiation and chemicals causing certain level of DNA damage and certain transformation in stem cells, similar to the ones humans with grey hair undergo (leading to fewer melanocytes). The rats went visibly grey, prematurely, due to inability of matured stem cells in the animals’ fur produce melanin, the pigment giving color to the hair. Reduced Cancer RiskAs a result, too rapidly matured stem cells of the rats stopped copying itself, and this tendency potentially has signs of an effective tool to prevent cells with damaged DNA from replicating and becoming cancerous. The same processes, according Emi Nishimura, Japanese scientific team leader, are happening in aging people leading to reduction in stem cells in hair follicles.

“Graying may actually be a safety mechanism, that’s a cool twist,” David Fisher, an expert cancer researcher from the department of dermatology at Harvard Medical School-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, commented on the findings of his Japanese colleagues. “They’ve shown that this mechanism is actually removing damaged stem cells. The good news is if you do find yourself graying, you’re probably better off not having those cells persist.” The importance of this scientific discovery, published in summer 2009 in Cell magazine, is hard to underestimate. According to Fisher, the discovered effects of stem cells linked to grey hair can assist in better understanding of cancer-related processes that take place in the body, as well as opening a way for possible new remedy or solution to aid in reducing cancer risk for all people.

David Fisher, though he was not taking part in the mentioned scientific study, has a great experience of researching the problems related to the connections between grey hair and possible risks of cancer. Years ago, his research team has reported about findings strong links between gray hair and a type of skin cancer. According to the publications, in 2005 the team of scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children’s Hospital Boston led by Dr. Fisher have found out that gray hair and skin cancer have the same roots. This interesting discovery was made while studying the causes of malignant melanoma by the specialists from Boston. It has been found out that grey hair and this skin cancer have the same cellular cause, but there were no conclusions made in regards to increased or recused cancer risk in those years.

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