Genetic Links to Early Hair Loss Reveal Deeper Concerns

General Hair Loss

A huge study from the University of Bonn has revealed that the genetics behind premature hair loss are also linked to other much more troubling health issues. We take a closer look.



A massive study of over 20,000 men across seven countries has uncovered no less than 63 genetic variations that are linked to premature balding. These alterations to the human genome directly increase the risk of premature hair loss, but the deeply worrying other findings of the study showed that these same variations are linked to characteristics such as reduced body size , early puberty and increased bone density… not to mention certain cancers.

University of Bonn


This esteemed academic institution is one of Germany’s finest and listed as one of the best 100 universities in the world. It has produced no less than seven Nobel prize winners and counts characters as varied as Prince Albert, Pope Benedict XVI and Karl Marx as alumni. With its outstanding reputation for research this latest study, published in Nature Journal, is to be taken seriously.

The study was led by Dr. Stefanie Heilmann-Heimbach and was ambitious in its scale. They compared the genes of 11,000 hair loss sufferers with 12,000 men who had full heads of hair. Along with discovering those 63 genome variations they identified a number of other physical characteristics that were also linked. These included being smaller in height and having denser bones, but it also included pale skin. The combination of pale skin and denser bones was explained by Prof. Markus Nother, also from the University of Bonn, as indicating a better ability to synthesize vitamin D, “…they could also explain why white men in particular lose their hair prematurely” he said.

A Dark Shadow Or A Bright Light?


While at first pass the study results make for depressing reading and give short white men with premature hair loss reason to fear for their long term health and the possible advent of prostate cancer and a raised risk of heart disease. The truth however is that this study, along with the one we recently reported on from the University of Edinburgh… another huge study aimed at finding a confident predictive DNA test to spot those at risk from early hair loss, add significantly to our understanding of hair loss. It is only through an improved understanding that we can ever hope to offer some future generation a solution… and who knows, maybe hand in hand will come DNA based treatments that not only provide a full head of hair but also remove the threats of those terrible illnesses developing.

HIS Hair Clinic


We continually monitor the results of any study aimed at improving our understanding of hair loss and applaud the work of Dr Stefanie and her team. Better than most we appreciate any cure is some way off and that in the meantime our work remains important. Providing straightforward and personally appropriate advice to everyone who comes through our doors is at the heart of what we do. If you want to discuss your hair loss situation with one of our friendly team of experts simply complete the contact form at the side of this page or click here to find your nearest clinic.


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