Thursday, December 8, 2016

Having A Bad Hair Day?

Imagine having a bad hair day every single day of your life.  As it turns out, this is a real and very rare genetic disorder with only a hundred cases reported.  With this condition, no amount of brushing, combing, or heat styling can tame this uncontrollable hair.  The condition is referred to as Uncontrollable Hair Syndrome (UHS.)  It is also sometimes referred to as spun-glass hair.  UHS is indicated by frizzy, dry, and discolored hair.  This is because the hair shaft is abnormally shaped causing hair to stick out as shown in the image above.  A study has recently confirmed that there is a genetic link to this condition.

Prof. Regina Betz of Human Genetics at the University of Bonn in Germany published these findings in The American Journal of Human Genetics.  Prof. Betz and her team gathered 11 children with UHS and sequenced their genomes.  This data was then compared with large national databases to identify any UHS related mutations.  The three genes that indicated mutations were located on PADI3, TGM3, and TCHH.  The PADI3 gene influences the hair shaft protein.  The TGM3 gene links hair shaft protein with the protein responsible for hair shape.  The TCHH gene is responsible for the protein that maintains hair shape and overall structure with keratin filaments.

Looking further into this study, it was discovered that even if just one of these genes contains a mutation, there will be an abnormality in hair structure.  This mutation also influences the hair structure of animals.  Mice with any of the PADI3 and TGM3 gene mutations displayed fur abnormalities, as well.

As of now, there is no medical treatment for this condition because it is not seen as much of a medical condition.  Hopefully, someday there will be some kind of remedy for people struggling with this daily issue.

Link To Full Article Here


  1. It's amazing to think that having bad hair days can be genetic. It was even more interesting to find out that animals, like mice, can have these gene mutations. Though this mutation is not life threatening, I'm surprised that a treatment for this hasn't been found just because it's not considered medical.

  2. Before reading this article I was completely ignorant of uncontrollable hair syndrome being a thing. I always complain about my hair and this puts things into perspective because people with UHS mutations actually have it really bad. Hair is such a pivotal aspect to self-expression. For this reason, I think its completely necessary to put some research efforts into figuring out how to help people affected. I get that is not brain cancer but it still matters

  3. To think that there are genetic disorders that even cause bad hair days. With that in mind it makes me wonder what other genetic disorders exist that have not exactly harmful affects, but more over annoying ones and what they might be. Maybe even Albert Einstein suffered from this disorder, but its also quite possible he just didn't bother combing his hair.

  4. This article opens up my mind to all the other possibilities of gene mutations in that have affected my hair throughout the years. It is truly enlightening to see how the UHS gene can make an abnormal shaft for the hair follicle. What do you think future advances hold for this kind of mutation?

  5. The fact that something as mundane as having a bad hair day can be related to genetics. This really makes me think of what other everyday things can be related to genetics. And more importantly, what other everyday problems can be fixed by looking at our genes.