WebMD Medical News
Louise Chang, MD
June 16, 2008 -- A simple, 60-second hair count test may help men tell the
difference between normal hair loss and problem hair loss
that may be a sign of male
A new study suggests that counting the hairs lost after 60 seconds of
combing or brushing is a reliable method for assessing hair loss.
"Currently, there is no widely accepted or standard method for assessing the
number of hairs shed daily," write researcher Carina A. Wasko, MD, of Baylor
College of Medicine in Houston and colleagues in the Archives of
Researchers say the commonly held belief that it's normal to shed up to 100
hairs a day is based on the assumption that the average scalp contains 100,000
hairs. Although this idea is widely held, researchers say it has not been
proven scientifically to be an accurate measure of normal vs. problem hair loss
in men or women.
It also does not account for whether shedding remains constant with age or
if normal hair loss rates are comparable among men and women.
In the study, researchers examined hair loss in 60 healthy men with no signs
of male pattern baldness. Half were between the ages of 20 and 40 and the other
half between ages 41 and 60.
Each of the men was given identical combs and instructed to wash their hair
with the same brand of shampoo for three consecutive mornings. On the fourth,
fifth, and sixth mornings, they were asked to comb hair forward over a towel or
pillowcase of contrasting color for 60 seconds before shampooing and count the
The results showed younger men shed an average of 10.2 per 60-second test
and the older men shed an average of 10.3 hairs per test.
"When repeated six months later in both age groups, the hair counts did not
change much. The hair counts were repeated and verified by a trained
investigator, with results similar to those of subject hair counts," write the
Researchers say that low variability between tests over time and across age
groups suggests that the 60-second hair count is a simple and practical tool
for assessing normal vs. problem hair loss in men.
They say the next steps are to verify the test in women and in people with
male pattern baldness and other forms of problem hair loss to determine hair
SOURCES:Wasko, C. Archives of Dermatology, June 2008; vol 144: pp
758-762.News release, American Medical Association.
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