If you’re a white man on the shorter side, there may be a greater chance you’ll lose your hair and get sick — at least that’s what a new study hints at.
The research, published Wednesday in Nature Communications, identified genetic associations among reduced body size, greater rates of premature hair loss, and earlier occurrences of puberty and some cancers. Study authors drew their findings from a global analysis of 11,000 men with premature baldness and 12,000 men without hair loss.
"We were thus able to identify 63 alterations in the human genome that increase the risk of premature hair loss," Dr. Stefanie Heilmann-Heimbach, of the University of Bonn, said in a release.
Prof. Markus Nöthen, director of the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Bonn, said the genetic analysis also pointed to links among premature baldness, light skin color and increased bone density.
"These could indicate that men with hair loss are better able to use sunlight to synthesize vitamin D. They could also explain why white men in particular lose their hair prematurely,” Nöthen said in the release.
Despite their findings, researchers cautioned patients that the the risks of illness in particular were only slightly elevated among bald men. Plus, more study is needed to learn the underlying mechanisms of these associations.
“It is, however, exciting to see that hair loss is by no means an isolated characteristic, but instead displays various relationships with other characteristics,” Nöthen said in the release.