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Published 2018-10-24
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The study that gives new clues about premature gray hair

Sometimes there are people who enjoy the appearance of gray hair. However, there are others who simply cannot deal with the fact that the hair suddenly turns gray. There are even those who begin to experience them fairly early in life. Until now the reasons for which this hair appeared so soon was clear or we thought we knew it, but in recent times a study shed light on it. Have you already heard about the multiple theories about the origin of this phenomenon? Here we explain everything. Surely, in the end, you can love them as a personal brand.

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The results of a recent investigation carried out in relation to the immune system yielded interesting conclusions about gray hair. What until now, it had been considered as a mark of old age, that our time as young people has come to an end, has finally manifested itself as something very different. There were those who used them to appear more mature, more sensible or even an experience that other people could consider as an interesting degree. But far from this could be cause for pleasure, the truth is that they had a very different root.

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In this sense, it was determined that when the human body is subjected to an attack of bacteria or viruses the appearance of gray hair occurs. No doubt there are other reasons that we will be telling throughout the article, but it was this that surprised the researchers, because it was not known why the body would want to be vulnerable as time went by, being a possible prey simple to hunt for predators. Although it is true that in these times we have gone from hiding them to recreating them, we cannot deny that we have always been intrigued to discover a new one in a natural way.

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The research was done by the US National Institutes of Health and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. These two institutions of great prestige and renown tried to find a viable way to give an explanation to this brand that for so many years had accompanied adulthood. While it is true that a relationship was known regarding the earliest occurrence of this event, it was not known if there were other elements added. Thus, for example, it was shown that among Caucasians the appearance was very common during the decade of the 30s.

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Likewise, the results of this study were published by PLOS Biology magazine, a means of dissemination of great prestige and free distribution in which the authors themselves are responsible for paying for the creation and copies that are distributed. However, it is important for the whole field of biology, since it brings together many of the greatest achievements in research related to the field of the study of life. And it was, precisely, because of this that the achievements made in the laboratory leaped to public opinion, which was eagerly demanding more information to try to decide whether it was a good idea or not to camouflage them.

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One of the things that were deduced is the presence of a common gene that regulates melanin and that is also associated with infection processes. Remember that the first is the pigment responsible for giving color to both our skin and our hair, being also the cause of albinism when it disappears or the different changes in skin color as we take more or less sun. However, and from here the investigation arises, it has been observed that although it has a protection function against ultraviolet radiation, it also does the same against infections, surrounding and disabling the aggressor bodies.

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It was also found that certain situations of chronic stress affect the appearance of gray hair, being an irreversible symptom that fosters a state in which the body itself tries to defend itself from a situation that it considers hostile. This is mainly due to the fact that the stress mechanism is designed to solve a specific situation in an efficient and explosive way, but due to the society in which we live, it has been prolonged almost to a habitual and chronic situation.

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The process of defense of the organism to a foreign body attack begins with the detection of the invader, trying to identify if that foreign body is a threat or not. If so, all defense measures are sent to try to neutralize it, among which we find the aforementioned melanin. Of course, this means that the reserves of this substance diminish, causing the appearance of hair without this pigment that gives them our characteristic color. The mystery would come next: Why, like the hair that we cut, does the hair that was once gray come back, but remains white?

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The explanation comes from the operation of this defense measure. This location of the attacker can be carried out by any cell and immediately a molecule called interferon is generated. This compound has the purpose of marking all types of viruses and bacteria that can penetrate our body with the intention of facilitating its elimination. They also have the function of intervening in the mechanism of reproduction of said viruses, preventing them from infecting more cells. That is why it is believed that they could contribute to the elimination of the ability to also replicate melanin itself.

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Once the virus itself is detected, it is the body that is responsible for sending all the heavy artillery, trying to eliminate it as quickly and effectively as possible, using from the leukocytes themselves or activating mechanisms such as fever to neutralize the threat. Unfortunately, along the way, it could also be the case that our hair's own capacities to generate the vital melanin were reduced, the indicator being the appearance of gray hair. Is this the only one to blame? The truth is that the investigation discovered more curiosities.

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During the investigation the magnifying glass was placed on the MITF gene, because it has an action in relation to the melanin pigment, being responsible for its multiplication within our own organism. No doubt to find the explanation for why our hair lost its color we had to follow very closely what happened to the substance that acted as "planes" for the creation of new dye material. As the investigation progressed, however, new actors entered the scene, also being studied.

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However, their responsibility was also observed in the regulation of activities of the immune system. This discovery was quite surprising for the research team, which hoped that it would only keep a way to replicate and not protect our body. Undoubtedly, until that moment, melanin had only been seen as a protection mechanism against the sun's rays, when in fact it had other, much more important measures that contributed to our health, having to be always occupying a role that was almost merely aesthetic but in reality It had a higher value.

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Dr. Melissa Harris was one of the authors of this work and she pointed out that part of the idea was to observe the stem cells. This widely recognized scientist, who passed her university stage linked to the California institution, always defended her training and educational vision, which allowed her to give this publication a much more informative and simple approach to understand for the vast majority of the population. No doubt it was thanks to her that now everyone can come to understand how our body works in a more intuitive way. But she did not become famous just for that.

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Because of the research, they carried out, one segment of the study focused on gray hair because the state of the melanocyte stem cells could be analyzed there. Stem cells are a type of cell that has the ability to adapt to any function, because it has all the non-specialized genetic information and, therefore, could be used to take the place of any other of the entire human body. In essence, all our cells would be of this type at the moment of our conception, beginning to specialize in the moment of the organization, in the womb. However, some remain in a kind of latency situation, waiting for the time when they were necessary.

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Specifically, the role of the MITF is aimed at maintaining the response of interferon to have marked potential attackers. For effects, it would be like a kind of sneak in charge of our body not stop showing the necessary interest on the foreign body and presumably aggressor. Always keeping in mind that it is related to the ability to generate more melanin, its use would favor the appearance of more and more gray hair. No doubt this would be the justification for this type of white hair. Despite this, she continued trying to investigate with more force to try to find the last loose ends.

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It was observed that when there is a loss of control of the MITF over interferon at the level of the stem cells, hair graying also occurs. Although the original function is to inhibit the replication of viruses, the final result leads to preventing the production of melanin. It would be as if the creation of police academies should also be avoided to avoid thieves. Without a doubt, it is a measure that resolves the situation, but that in the end would leave us much weaker in the face of future incursions.

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Another thing that could be seen at the laboratory level was the reaction to artificially activate the immune system in mice. The reason was that these rodents have a much lower life expectancy, which ranges between the year and 4 years, and that is easily detectable and analyzed by the scientists themselves. However, we always try not to cause unnecessary harm to the animals in order to obtain exclusively the information that allows us to continue increasing our life expectancy. Provoke the immune system was only a small step perfectly assumable.

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In this eventuality, there was also a multiplication of the number of gray hair. This response to an induced stimulus in these animals gave indications of why people develop gray hair early in life. The excuse by which in our body began to appear these early marks of maturity or of old age, depending on how one looks at it, was resolved in this way. But although for many they continue to have a marked sensual character, for others they have a very different condition.

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In this case, an analogy with factors external to young humans was established as a trigger for hair graying, with exposure to bacteriological or viral diseases being one of the most common among the reasons. In spite of this, genetics, ethnicity or even environmental conditions also play their part in the equation, although what is now added is possibly one of the most forceful in recent years. Without a doubt, the effort that Dr. Melissa L. Harris has made has helped us to understand ourselves a little better.

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So the results lead to a virtually unambiguous conclusion that the gene that controls hair pigmentation is linked to the immune system. It is interesting, especially, because they had never connected before but for scientific study. Once you have verified it, do you think that you will be able to develop premature gray hair or do you think that it will only come to you when you reach a much older age? Only time will tell, but just in case try not to grab any disease just in case you do not find it very interesting to be a gray-haired.

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