|MadSci Network: Anatomy|
Mohsin, studies in 2005 and 2007 (see 1 below) have shown that baldness is indeed X-linked. In other words a recessive gene (or combination of genes) that is inherited down the maternal line. It is not a straight forward inheritance as the gene is recessive which (as you may know) means that it would have to express itself in order to cause baldness. Hence there is no guarantee that your son, should you have one, will be bald even if your future wife's grandfather and father were bald. There are a number of causes of baldness and I refer you to an excellent website (see 2 below) for further details. It may be caused by genetic or environmental factors. As to treatment for your hair loss I would advise that you visit a dermatologist so that you can be given an accurate diagnosis and appropriate advice. There are only two approved drugs available which actually work so beware of bogus treatments. As to Texas water, I am at a loss to come up with a decent explanation that I could satisfy you with. Certainly chemical poisoning can cause hair loss as can iron deficiency. The large number of bald kids in your school is certainly unusual but could be simply a statistical high. For example temporary hair loss in a large number of individuals could be caused by fungal infections such as ringworm which are extremely contagious. Also common is hair loss due to stress although this tends to be more localised on the scalp. Should you visit a dermatologist and receive an inconclusive diagnosis to your baldness then it might be worth investigating the water situation further. There could be a problem with the water which could indicate chemical or radiological contamination. However the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas water authorities do monitor drinking water safety especially for schools and hospitals. Having said that there was a famous case in the 1960's involving Erin Brockovich where it was shown that drinking water contained the poisonous metal ion Chromium VI. I am certain that there is no malicious intent to contaminate your drinking water but it can happen occasionally. If you suspect poisoning then see a doctor get a positive diagnosis then allow the relevant authorities to investigate. 1.Hillmer AM, Hanneken S, Genetic variation in the human androgen receptor gene is the major determinant of common early-onset Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA). Department of Genomics, Life and Brain Center, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany. 2.http://www.americanhairloss.org/men_hair_loss/
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