11 June 2009

I KNEW it! I just knew it!

My hair was entirely white by the time I was 30 years of age. Given that premature grey hair doesn't run in my family, it was always obvious to me what (and who) was to blame. Now there's corroborating evidence.

When an aging mouse's lovely brown fur turns grey, she can now officially blame stress - at least, the kind of stress that damages DNA, Japanese researchers have confirmed....

[The researchers] teased out the apparent mechanism that causes hair to lose its colour during aging. [They] subjected mice to high levels of a type of stress called "genotoxic stress," which damages DNA - something that all living organisms experience constantly through exposure to ultraviolet light, other radiation and certain types of chemicals.

Now couple that report with this study and one can understand how stress due to prolonged childhood abuse can cause the hair of the grown adult to turn prematurely grey.

If children are abused early, they are flooded with stress-related hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, said Louise Newman, a professor of perinatal and infant psychiatry at the University of Newcastle in Australia.

"This impacts directly on how the brain develops and the stress regulation mechanism. It becomes highly stressed so it's like setting the thermostat on high, setting up a system which regulates stress less efficiently," Newman said.

Have always argued that my mother downloaded her stress onto me. No surprise then, that while my hair was turning white before my eyes, my mother remained, well into her 60s, raven-haired, with only an attractive grey streak falling seductively from her temple.

Recommend this post