Stress turns hair grey

August 23rd, 2011 - 8:30 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 23 (IANS) Stress can turn your hair grey, say scientists.

They have found how stress hormone adrenaline causes damage that could lead to a variety of conditions - such as grey hair or the more serious cancer, the Daily Mail reported.

The research is still at an early stage but it could one day lead to drugs that help counter some of the medical problems caused by one always being under pressure, it said.

The new hope comes from US researchers who worked out how adrenaline wreaks havoc on the body.

During brief but intense periods of stress, adrenaline is beneficial as it prepares the body to fight or flee.

But when the stress goes on and on, it can start to take its toll on the DNA at the very core of our being, researchers said.

To work out why, the researchers infused mice with adrenaline over several weeks to mimic the effects of being under long-term stress.

Levels of a key anti-cancer protein called p53 fell. This protein, sometimes nicknamed ‘the guardian of the genome’, usually springs into action when DNA is damaged, allowing potentially cancerous cells to carry out repairs.

DNA damage is also thought to impact on the cells that go on to produce the pigment in hair.

“This could give us a plausible explanation of how chronic stress may lead to a variety of human conditions and disorders, which range from merely cosmetic, like greying hair, to life-threatening disorders like malignancies,” the Mail quoted lead researcher professor Robert Lefkowitz of Duke University, North Carolina, as saying.

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