Feeds

Can your hair turn white as a result of shock?

And could it do so overnight?

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.