Friday, April 20, 2007

Feelin' Grey

Chaim and I when we were still young

"For age is opportunity no less than youth itself, though in another dress, and as the evening twilight fades away, the sky is filled with stars, invisible by day. "
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

…Well, here’s hoping anyway…I am about to begin my nightly ritual…you know, the usual – wash the face, brush the teeth, etc…however lately a new obsession has begun to prolong this pre-slumber custom and frankly it is beginning to concern me! Every night I am staying up way to long trying to take inventory of my many rapidly appearing grey hairs. What is going on! Do I pluck them--will more grow back?…what is causing this phenomena…Why do my older (can I just re-emphasize OLDER) sisters not have this problem yet? Is it a sign of stress, a health indicator of some sort, a sign of profound wisdom…(yes, perhaps that it is…some sort of transfiguration perhaps?). Well, so concerned was I that I decided to do a little research…Here it is, just thought you should know…

Dr. Desmond Tobin, professor of cell biology from the University of Bradford in England, suggests that the hair follicle has a “melanogentic clock” which slows down or stops melanocyte activity, thus decreasing the pigment our hair receives. This occurs just before the hair is preparing to fall out or shed, so the roots always look pale.
Moreover, Dr. Tobin suggests that hair turns gray because of age and genetics, in that genes regulate the exhaustion of the pigmentary potential of each individual hair follicle. This occurs at different rates in different hair follicles. For some people it occurs rapidly, while in others it occurs slowly over several decades.
In a February 2005 Science article (Nishimura, et al.) Harvard scientists proposed that a failure of melanocyte stem cells (MSC) to maintain the production of melanocytes could cause the graying of hair. This failure of MSC maintenance may result in the breakdown of signals that produce hair color.
There are other factors that can change the pigmentation of hair, making it lighter or darker. Scientists have divided them by intrinsic (internal) and extrinsic (external) factors:
Intrinsic Factors: Genetic defects, Hormones, Body distribution, Age
Extrinsic factors: Climate, Pollutants, Toxins, Chemical exposure.

Hair-raising facts:
An average scalp has 100,000-150,000 hairs.
Hair is so strong that each hair can withstand the strain of 100 grams (3.5 ounces). An average head of hair could hold 10-15 tons if only the scalp was strong enough!
Human hair grows autonomously, that is each hair is on its own individual cycle. If all our hair were on the same cycle, we would molt!
Hair has the highest rate of mitosis (cell division). An average hair grows 0.3 mm a day and 1 cm per month.

Hmm, well, Goodnight.


  1. No way Chris - grey is awesome.
    Thanks for the research too!

  2. Hey you've been tagged. Go to my blog

  3. Uhh Crystal... you're grey, not dead. Post another entry soon or I'll send out a search party.

    - C

  4. Yeah...I agree with Chad. You signed up to be a blog!

    Miss you