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Dealing With Unruly Hair? Researchers Have Identified Gene Mutations You Can Blame For ‘Uncombable Hair Syndrome’

A number of children suffer from a quite odd syndrome, which consists of the impossibility to get their hair combed. The German term for this phenomenon is “Struwwelpeter syndrome,” which translates to “uncombable hair syndrome.”

A new research conducted by scientists from the Universities of Bonn and Toulouse have spotted the gene mutations that are responsible for this condition. As part of the study, representatives of the scientific community from eight different states were involved in the research.

The study was published Nov. 17 in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Uncombable Hair — A Genetic Disorder

There are many parents who complain that their children’s hair cannot be combed. And while knots can be undone with endless amounts of patience, it is now scientifically proven that there are genetic factors responsible for this condition.

The hair of children who experience this situation is generally very dry and frizzy. In most cases, it is light blonde hair that is subjected to such characteristics, according to the research. However, as the children grow older, their condition improves and their hair becomes tamable.

Until recently, very little was known about the factors that contribute to this state among children. While many parents were complaining about this odd situation, the interest of scientific research didn’t fall on this topic prior to this research.

The phenomenon was, however, described in 1973 by scientific literature, with over one hundred cases documented. But the scientific assumption of the researchers is that there are far more cases than the ones that are clinically recorded.

Healthy Hair Formation

The reason why this condition is not so popular is that parents of these children don’t usually seek special help or go to hospitals or dermatologists to talk about this phenomenon.

One of the authors of the study, who is a specialist in hereditary hair disorders, started this research in collaboration with a British colleague a few years back. As part of the research, three different genes were found to be responsible for this bizarre phenomenon.

The names of these genes are PAD13, TGM3 and TCHH. While the first two genes are characterized by enzyme instructions, the third was found to contain an important protein that is responsible for hair shaft. The TCHH proteins are joined through keratin in normal hair, while PAD13 has the possibility to change its structure in such a manner that the keratin filaments adhere to it.

Aside from establishing the factors responsible for this condition, the research also managed to bring consistent information that can be related to the genetic mechanisms behind the formation of healthy hair.


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