Stories tagged hair


Chop it off and send it in!
Chop it off and send it in!Courtesy miss pupik
A couple weeks ago I posted a link to a project in which Dr. Patrick Wheatley was soliciting donations of hair for geochemical research. Intrigued, I contacted Patrick to ask him more about the hair project.

Me: What do you look for as you test the hair?

Patrick: I'm looking for changes in the ratios of isotopes in various elements. I hope to tie the changes in isotopic ratios to differences in geography, either through differences in the isotope ratios of local water supplies or fundamental deferences in the geology of the region where the hair was grown.

Me: How do those isotopes get in our hair in the first place?

Patrick: They are incorporated through our drinking water or diet.

Me: What will your findings help scientists do or understand? Is there a practical application for this research?

Patrick: This research is driven by a possible forensic application, knowing the past whereabouts of victims of crimes (perhaps dead and unable to talk about where they were or perhaps held in a secret location) or suspects of crimes (maybe unwilling to talk about where they have spent time recently). There are also possible medical applications.

You can still send hair in for the project. More information can be found at the project's website.

It's Friday, so it's time for a new Science Friday video. Science Friday
Science Friday
Courtesy Science Friday
"Kelly Ward, senior software engineer for Walt Disney Animation Studios, was tasked with bringing Rapunzel's locks to life in Disney's new movie, Tangled. The hair had to look realistic, but not too real -- otherwise Rapunzel would be towing 80 pounds behind her."

Using hair clippings from your hair salon to clean up the oil spill. Interesting.


Hair and the chemicals we put in it.

Do you know what you are putting in your hair when you dye, perm, or relax your hair?
Hair dyes contain harsh chemicals. Para Phenylenediamine is a potent allergen. It is also a possible carcinogen which is cancer causing. Reports suggest over exposure to hair dyes might increase the chances of forms of cancer such as lymphoma, multiple myeloma, breast cancer, and leukemia. Another chemical in hair dyes is lead acetate and lead is said to disrupt the function of your brain.
Hair relaxers are mostly used by African Americans to get straight silky hair. I used to get these relaxers and thought they were great but now my hair has lots of breakage. So I no longer get them. Relaxers contain a chemical called lye also known as sodium hydroxide which are used in drain cleaners. This is a very strong potent chemical The relaxer breaks the protein bonds in the hair. If relaxers are misused the scalp can be severly burned and hair can fall out leaving bald spots. Even without misuse lye breaks down the protein in the hair leaving hair dry with breakage. It can also lead to brain damage. Watch the video below…Would you want the foil to be your head? hydroxide burn
sodium hydroxide burnCourtesy ......


Many people wonder what happens to your hair and nail after death. Does your hair and nails still grow by itself or does it just stop right after death? There was an argument saying that your nails and hair still do grow after death, while others say they stop growing after death. What is the answer to this situation?

Well the answer is easy. No, your hair and nails don't still grow after death. As you die, your body dehydrates. This causes the skin and organs to shrink in size (remember your body is made out of 70% of water) but not the hair and nails. This gives the appearance of growth, but it's really the skin being pulled back. The reason the hair and nails don't shrink is because while the rest of the body does, it's already dead. The only part of hair that is alive is the follicle (a small spherical group of cells) and when that dies, you go bald over times as your hair falls out. And since because your hair grows do to protein and oil, there isn't any living cells to carry out this function so it would just be long gone. Hairs and nails don't shrink during funeral time is because they used some moisturizing cream on their body and hair, this stops it from shrinking. And if they didn’t then your hair would have fallen out and you would go bald.

When I first heard about this situation about hair and nails still growing after death, I was shock. And I was like no way your hair and nails still grow after death. I just had to research about the topic and find answers to this. When I did found out that the answer was no, I was like ok this is a better understanding. How can your hair and nails still grow when your body is already shut down? I am glad that I found the answer to this. Now I know the truth.

When I was a teenager my mother told me that I was the reason her hair was going grey. Turns out that it was actually a build-up of hydrogen peroxide due to wear and tear on her hair follicles. This is according to a new study by researchers in the UK, detailed here on the BBC News blog. The researchers behind this study believe that a better understanding of the phenomenon of grey hair could lead to new and novel approaches to grey-hair prevention. And not a moment too soon! I was getting tired of pulling them out one by one with a tweezers.


A yeti: preparing a powerful spell.
A yeti: preparing a powerful spell.Courtesy teotwawki
It’s time again, Buzzketeers—get on the cryptocouch. Go on and sit down. Just as you are is fine. I understand that some of you may be a little crusty and gross, and that’s fine; you were probably just planning on getting a little internet on by yourself this morning, and maybe you let your crust build up, your funk get funkier, and didn’t expect to have to set yourself down on a cryptocouch with other Buzzketeers.

Don’t sweat it. The cryptocouch is big enough for all of us, with room to spare for buffer zones, and it’s upholstered such that I can just hose it off later. And that may be necessary, if your orifices aren’t up for some serious cryptozoology this early in the day.

And now you’re on the cryptocouch, despite your reservations. How did I ever convince you to do that? Hey, it’s only to be expected—my Yeti magic is particularly strong today. Usually my Yeti magic is fueled by groundless faith, but today, oh today, my Yeti magic is burning the high-octane gas of scientific uncertainty.

Uncertainty may not sound very good to some of y’all, but when science gets up in your grill as often as it does with cryptozoology, you take what you can get. And today, instead of scientists thrusting and grinding statements like “That’s bear hair,” or “That’s a sick coyote” in our faces, it says, “hello, this is different.” That is, so-called Yeti hair collected in India has recently been identified as “inconclusive.”

Let’s slow down and use our words.

Scientists at Oxford Brookes University, lead by “ape expert” Ian Redmond, have recently spent some time examining a couple of mysterious hairs from the Garo Hills of northeast India. The hairs were collected after a local forester reported seeing the region’s Yeti/Bigfoot thinger (specifically, the “Mande Barung”) in the area three days in a row.

The hairs have been compared to samples collected by Sir Edmund Hilary, a mountaineer and explorer, who did some Yeti-searching in Nepal in the 60’s. And that’s cool, except Sir Edmund’s specimens have generally been agreed to be from a kind of antelope, something that Hilary himself was probably aware of.

The Oxford Brookes researchers, then, began examining the new hairs “fully expecting them to come from a known animal.” The hairs, each less than two inches long, however, now appear to have come from an unknown animal. The scientists say that, under a microscope, the hairs look slightly human, slightly like an orangutan, and slightly like Hilary’s samples (so, slightly like antelope hair). But they don’t look exactly like hair from a known animal, especially none that are known to live in the Garo Hills. So, even if the hairs don’t come from a Yeti (or whatever)m they may be evidence of a slightly more mundane new species. Which is pretty neat.

The next step that will be taken with the hairs is their submission to that colossal buzz-kill we call genetic testing. The hairs, which still have follicle attached, will be sent to two separate laboratories in Oxford and Cardiff for DNA analysis. Even if the results don’t identify the hairs as belonging to a specific species, they should at least show what their original owner was related to (like a primate, or, say, a type of antelope).

How about that? Powerful stuff, huh? So cast your Yeti spells while the news is still hot, because who knows what the DNA tests will bring us.

Now get off the couch. I have to sleep there, and you’re making it all grimy.