Feeds

Can your hair turn white as a result of shock?

And could it do so overnight?

Application security programs and practises

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

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.