Feeds

Can your hair turn white as a result of shock?

And could it do so overnight?

High performance access to file storage

Also in this week's column:

Can your hair turn white as a result of shock?

Asked by Ingrid Smith of Chatswood, NSW, Australia

Theoretically, any sudden severe shock, accident, illness or change in metabolism could make hair change colour, but it won't be visible right away.

According to Dr John O'Connor, head of the School of Physical Science and Mathematics at the University of Newcastle in Australia, "once your hair has grown out of its follicle, any emotional or physical trauma will not affect it. This hair is basically dead, like your nails. Yet severe adverse events could cause new hair that grows out a few weeks later to be white."

What about turing white overnight?

Let's concentrate on "overnight". Just like in the cartoons? There is no scientific evidence that hair can turn white overnight due to some traumatic experience. However, legend has it that both Thomas More and Marie Antoinette suffered a hair colour change to white the night before their executions.

Some maintain even today that a condition called alopecia areata can turn hair white overnight. But this condition refers to hair loss, not hair colour change. Dr Douglas Nelson of Averon-Bergelle, France, described the case of a 45-year-old French farmer whose hair reportedly went from black to white in 14 days. It stayed that way for about six months. Then, over a period of four months, it grew back to full black as before. He was in perfect health. There was no illness. There was no shock. There is no explanation.

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Saturn spotted spawning new FEMTO-MOON
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.