Bald black woman? Israeli scientists make the leap towards a cure

One in 20 black females suffers from hair-loss, after seven years of research, Israeli scientists find the gene responsible for it.

February 14, 2019 19:01
1 minute read.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell

naomi campbell . (photo credit: AP)


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The famous blues song by musical legend Lightnin' Hopkins "Bald Headed Woman" might be outdated soon thanks to the medical breakthrough achieved by an Israeli scientist. 

Head of the Department of Dermatology at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Professor Eli Sprecher led an international group of scientists for seven years on a study that sought to discover why baldness is fairly common among black women. The team succeeded in identifying the gene responsible.

Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia [CCCA], which causes loss of hair, was thought to be the result of aggressive hair manipulation - yet now a genetic cause was found as well - leading to the potential development of a possible cure.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that a malfunction in protein PADI3 causes CCCA.

Sprecher warned in an interview with Maariv on Thursday that extensive pulling of the hair and attempts to straighten it may be related to hair loss for those who carry the genetic defect.

"Finding the genetic defect that causes CCCA might bring us closer to finding a cure," he said. 

In his 2009 film Good Hair comedian Chris Rock sought to explore the reasons African-American women use hair implants and weaving techniques to such an extent. The reasons vary from cultural oppression, black women's hair was once thought of as kinky and coarse, to cultural expectations of beauty standards for women.

Some of the black men who appear on the film joke that it's common knowledge in African-American dating culture not to touch a woman's hair unless given expressed permission to do so.

The business of black hair, the Huffington Post reported in 2014, might be worth around half a trillion US dollars.

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