Hair loss in men is a common issue, although we still don’t know a lot about its exact causes at a genetic level. A recent study by researchers from the University of Edinburgh is attempting to change that, however. Scientists have just identified nearly 300 new genetic markers that can help predict male pattern baldness and offer new insights into innovative treatments for hair loss.

The Study

A previous study into the identification of genetic markers was only able to identify 8, so discovering more than 200 is truly an amazing feat. This research is also one of the largest of its kind, with more than 52,000 male participants with ages ranging from 40 to 69.

32% of men in the study said that they didn’t suffer from hair loss, 23% had slight hair loss, 27% considered their loss to be moderate, and 18% suffered from severe hair loss. The genomes of the participants were analysed, as researchers sought to identify genetic variations connected to hair loss called single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).

The Results

There were 287 genetic variations found in more than 100 genes, all of which linked to hair loss in men. Most of these genes are also connected to hair development and growth. The results of the study also showed that 40 of the markers for male pattern baldness come from the mother, meaning that it’s men’s X chromosome that holds them.

One of the genes on the chromosome is for the androgen receptor and binds to the hormone testosterone – it is also strongly connected to hair loss, being one of the genes responsible for male patterns baldness.

What it All Means

While it’s difficult to predict hair loss in individuals themselves, the scientists involved in the study were able to predict it for large populations, which is a step forward in determining hair loss patterns. In the future, other studies that might even include the age at which men began to lose their hair will likely be able to determine patterns in individuals.

This will contribute to innovative hair loss treatments, which will either prevent or tackle the issue of male pattern baldness in the years to come.

Studies like this, then, are a much-needed step forward in the study of hair loss in men. We might not yet know everything there is to know about it, but we are getting very close and making important discoveries all the time!