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Top 10 weird and wonderful facts about hair

Hair has more to offer than dandruff to grow and accommodate. Strands have superpowers, like a sense of smell, and help some creatures to hang on their hair.

Aside from the biological wonders, there is the fascinating world of hair archaeologists exploring the enigmatic patches and fabrics that were once fashionable in long-dead cultures. Hair can also appear in unusual places, from synthetic skin to tumors that resemble humans. It's almost as strange as Canada's frozen hair tournament.

10 Red Hair Drains Antioxidants

Red hair and skin pigments are already associated with a higher risk of cancer. In 2012, a study found that red hair had another disadvantage – the cessation of antioxidants. The latter are valued for their ability to fight the free radicals that damage cells, sometimes with a carcinogenic effect.

The study focused on wild boar in Spain. However, because humans share the same red pigment – pheomelanin – with the pigs, the results were counted for both species. The researchers found that animals with the pigment had less antioxidants such as GSH and more free radical damage.

The production of pheomelanin requires GSH, which depletes the body's supply of the crucial substance. In fact, boars with gray hair lacking a color pigment had more GSH and less cell damage.

Interestingly, the Spanish pigs had an evolutionary sense. Gray fur was found in older animals as well as many first-class specimens. It seems that silver fur could be an attempt to reduce the damage caused by free radicals in the species. As far as pheomelanin is concerned, it remains a mystery why the harmful pigment developed in the first place. [1]

9 Gift from Washington

To President George Washington's 18th-century life, people gave hair as a gift. Washington also gave this hairy compliment to several people. In 2018, an archivist at Union College in New York found an old almanac.

The book bound in leather was printed in 1793, and in a cover letter stood the owner Philip Schuyler. There was an envelope in the book. On the cover were the words "Washington's hair," which contained some yellowish-gray strands.

Because the sample did not want to be destroyed by DNA testing, the college turned to the hair experts of George Washington. Most agreed that it was the right thing to do. But how did it come to Philip Schuyler and college? Washington was probably his close friends Alexander and Eliza Hamilton. The Schuylers had family relationships with the Hamiltons and probably got the hair as a gift from them. The Schuylers were also among the founders of Union College, so probably a family member put the envelope in the book and donated the archives. [2]

8 Secret To Sticky Feet

By nature, geckos are not sticky. You also have no problem getting up the walls or hanging upside down. The reptiles are hanging on the toe hairs. Each toe is filled with microscopic hairs that are individually divided into hundreds of bristles. This blur is the secret.

In 2014, researchers developed a mathematical model to excise the details. Incredibly, the model showed a sensitive but powerful system. As long as the hair stays dry, the tiny reptiles can attach and loosen their paws so fast that they can move 20 body lengths per second without falling.

The strands are in oblique directions and bring them closer to the surface and increase the "stick". The hair also adapts lightning fast when a gecko jumps onto another surface or suddenly turns. Such maneuvers shift a tremendous amount of energy. The elasticity and flexibility of the hair will certainly redirect this rise and make geckos the gravity-defying acrobats they are. [3]

7 Hairstyles by Amarna

Pharaoh Echnatenen ruled Egypt from 1353 BCE. Until 1335 BC The king is usually known to abolish all Egyptian deities in favor of a single god named Aten. Akhenaten built a brand new city and made it a capital city. This desert settlement was called Amarna, which was abandoned after the death of Akhenaten.

In 2014, archaeologists excavated a nearby cemetery. Among the things they wanted to find out about Amarna were the hairstyles of the city. Based on the 28 skulls that still had hair, braids and extensions seemed popular. One woman had 70 extensions arranged in complex layers.

The reason for her sophisticated hairstyle is still puzzling, but was probably done in preparation for her funeral. It could also have reflected a hairstyle that the citizens of Amarna enjoyed during their lifetime.

The hair extensions of others used both natural black and gray hair. This showed that several donors contributed to a hairstyle. Another popular style put coils around people's ears. Fat was used in every case, possibly as a styling agent, and the locals liked to keep their hair shoulder-length. [4]

6 Oil Spill Cleanup Tool

Every day, hairdressers sweep hair into small piles to throw them away. A recent study could make this abundant waste a response to oil spills. It may sound strange, but the snippets on salon floors could absorb one of the biggest environmental disasters in the world.

Australian researchers began an ongoing study in 2017 based on the hopeful fact that human hair collects oil. In fact, a strand can absorb its own weight in oil up to nine times. Therefore, the head becomes so greasy that a petrol contaminated site may benefit from hair drained in the ocean.

There are other strong absorbents. But they are either synthetic plastics or too valuable as wool and cotton. On the other hand, short haircuts are not only waste but also cheap and natural. Usually they go directly to landfills. [5]

If reused as a giant mop, the environment would benefit from a cleaner sea, and landfills would avoid filling themselves with huge amounts of hair. The researchers hope that the same amount of hair could be reused for multiple oil spills.

5 The hairdressing archeologist

Janet Stephens is a hairdresser from Baltimore. During the day she snaps and styles the heads of the customers. At night she works at home and restores hairstyles that no longer exist – more precisely, the hairstyles of ancient Rome.

Many Roman statues show extinct hairstyles, some are so weightless that experts write them off as wigs. Stephens did not buy wig theory. In her search for the lost techniques she discovered that many of the curls, buns and bumps could be made with natural hair.

To achieve this, the ancient Roman barbers used something that salons would never consider these days – a needle and a needle thread. Stephens breakthrough came in 2005, as she worked extensively with the sewing together of the bits and braids.

While leafing through Roman literature on this subject, the Latin word acus appeared. It had two meanings: "hairpin," which translators falsely favored, and "needle and thread," which allowed it to disprove the wig angle. Stephens ongoing research has earned the respect of scientists, and their work is published in scientific journals. [6]

4 Hair Can Smell

The human nose is not the only body part with a sense of smell. In 2018, researchers discovered that hair follicles have the same olfactory receptors that line the nasal passages. These receptors bind to odor molecules and signal to the brain that there are donuts in the office or that the garbage stinks.

Although hair may smell, this is not so obvious. However, tests have found that hair likes the smell of sandalwood. A synthetic version called Sandalore provokes follicles and the discovery could boost the hair growth business.

Hair's olfactory receptor is a special type called OR2AT4. While natural sandalwood gives no results, Sandalore positively affects this receptor in keratinocytes. These cells produce keratin, the protein that gives the hair a good look.

When researchers treated hair follicles with Sandalore, the death rate of keratinocytes dropped dramatically. Even better, the synthetic compound promoted the growth hormone iGF-1. It also slowed the phase when hair died and failed. [7]

3 Laboratory Grown Hair

In 2016, Japanese scientists create skin in the lab. Incredibly, this artificial skin can make your own hair grow and even sweat. The researchers dabbed the gums from mice and transformed the gland cells into stem cells before using them to build skin-like structures with sweat glands and hair follicles. When these structures were transplanted to mice without hair, the rodents became bushy.

Artificial skin is not a new invention, but the Japanese technique was the first to pull hair through new skin. This was due to the fact that all major layers of the skin developed naturally after transplantation, even the growing connections within the fibers and muscles of the animal.

Future applications look great. This type of skin could reduce the number of animals used in laboratory experiments and treat patients with burns and skin graft needs. However, it may take a while for the creases to be ironed out. The skin can not form its own nerve fibers, and it can produce hair that has a different color than the rest of the host. [8]

2 A hairy tumor

One of the strangest tumors is called Teratom. They develop in the ovary and often grow on human body parts. Such growths are not the result of pregnancy or parasitic twins. These are normal cells that get mixed up in a really bizarre way.

In 2017, a Japanese teen was hospitalized for a routine. The 16-year-old patient was supposed to perform an appendectomy, but during surgery, the surgeons noticed growth on one of her ovaries. After that things got weird.

The mass was about 10 centimeters and had a bunch of hair, bones and a deformed brain. The girl's egg cell had begun to divide for no reason and developed hair follicles. Some cells turned into a tiny partial brain and wrapped it with a bony layer. Fortunately, teratomas are usually benign and easily removable. [9]

1 Hair Freezing Contest

The annual Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Festival in Canada includes several winter sports. All of these aching muscles prompted athletes and devotees to immerse themselves in the hot springs of Takhini.

This resulted in an interesting side effect – the International Hair Freezing Contest. Frozen hair happens naturally at the springs. Steam rises from the hot water and collects in the hair of a person, where cold air turns it into ice.

In 2011, the owners of Takhini launched the first tournament to see who could freeze the most monstrous mane. The word spread and the annual competition now welcomes participants from around the world in February and March.

Despite their solid appearance, frozen strands lose their ice with a single underwater dive. The organizers are proud of the fact that during the competition hair was never injured, that the contest seems to be a world first and that it creates equal opportunities – bald-headed people with wigs are welcome. [10]

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