Premature Hair Graying & Bone Mineral Density

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n a recent case-control study, premature hair graying was found to be associated with osteopenia, suggesting that this might be a clinically useful risk factor for osteoporosis. This possibility was reexamined in 293 healthy postmenopausal women. Subjects experiencing onset of hair graying in their 20s tended to have lower mineral density throughout the skeleton than those with onset of graying later in life. The same was true for those in whom the majority of their hair was gray by the age of 40 yr, in whom the bone density was reduced by 7% in the femoral neck, 8% in the femoral trochanter, and 4% in the total body when compared with those not prematurely gray. Bone density at the lumbar spine and Ward's triangle showed similar trends that were not significant. Premature hair graying, however, explained only 0.6-1.3% of the variance in bone mineral density within the population. It is concluded that premature hair graying is associated with low bone density, but that its infrequency in the normal postmenopausal population leads to its accounting for only a tiny fraction of the variance of bone density.

Orr-Walker BJ, Evans MC, Ames RW, Clearwater JM, Reid IR, J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 1997;82:3580-3583