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Question of the Month

Q: I was wondering about the concept of Vestigial Organs. Like the appendix and the tail bone, will hair start disappearing in the human species because there seems to be no physiological use for it? Should we have to stop the process of evolution to cure hair loss? Almost all my friends inevitably say that their parents had more hair than them. My mother at 56, has more hair than me at 28 and we do not have any history of balding in the family. The problem of hair loss seems to be more and more prevalent.

A:
You raise a very interesting question of why we humans still have hair and whether hair loss is getting more common. The human species has always had hair and I don't think it will disappear because of evolution. Natural selection does not fully account for all human attributes, in my opinion. Why do we have language ability? or why do we have hands which can type on a computer keyboard as I am doing now? It is not that I don't accept evolution but scientists should admit that we have only limited understanding of why we are the way we are.

I don't think alopecia is more common. Rather, women are more comfortable expressing concern about quality of life issues. Also the media and especially the internet helps people realize that they are not the only ones with a problem.

Alopecia is part hereditary but the genetics are complex; often only some in a family are affected.

In any case, female hair loss is treatable despite genetic factors.
I think that in a thousand years humans will still have hair, though hair styles will probably have changed.

Sincerely,

Geoffrey Redmond, MD


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