A team of researchers from UCL Biosciences recently identified the specific genes that cause variations in hair, beard and eyebrow graying, density and shape in addition to whether one has curly or straight strands. The group published their findings in Nature Communications to help medical professionals, seniors, and Columbus home care agencies understand what causes hair to go gray.
The researchers made the discovery when studying DNA samples obtained from 6,630 volunteers from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. The male and female participants had African, European, Hispanic and Native American ancestries. The visual hair traits of each person were then compared to an entire genome database and evaluated in an effort to identify what genetic material creates the differences commonly seen in people’s hair.
The discoveries that the group made were only made possible by analyzing the genetic material from a large group of people having diverse ethnic backgrounds. The scientists reported that they were already familiar with the group of genes that cause balding and common hair colors. However, this was the first study that helped researchers identify the gene that causes hair to turn gray. The researchers explained that this knowledge would likely have a dramatic effect on forensic science and the cosmetic industry.
The scientists call the gray hair gene IRF4. It is also known to play a role in a person’s normal hair color. The gene regulates the production and storage of the pigment melanin, which determines each individual’s eye, hair and skin color.
Researchers know that the graying process begins when the body reduces melanin production. However, they strive to further understand how IRF4 affects the pigment production process. Once the team unravels the entire mystery, laboratories would then be able to develop methods to delay or prevent hair from turning gray. The group explained that the process that turns hair gray is likely caused by other factors or genes working together with IRF4. These factors have yet to be discovered.
Looking young is only half the battle when it comes to senior wellness and vitality. It’s also important for seniors to feel young. Home Care Assistance of Columbus provides comprehensive at-home care to help seniors look and feel vital throughout their golden years. Our custom care schedules give our clients the opportunity to personalize their loved one’s experience with us, thereby optimizing longevity and wellbeing in the comfort of home. Learn more by calling (614) 481-8888 today to schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our friendly Care Managers.