Friday, January 23, 2009

On Going Grey

I'll admit I'm seeing a bit of winter sneak in, even though it's but around July 15th for my metaphorical year of aging. Always good to know my odds, however:
"Basically, people gray as they grow older," said osteopath Tyler Cymet, vice president of medical education at the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine who practices at Northwest Hospital outside Baltimore. [...] The average white male goes about 30 percent gray at the age of 34, "give or take nine years," Cymet told African-Americans hit the 30 percent gray mark at 44 years old, plus or minus 10 years. After the head turns 30 percent gray, it is another two to seven years until a person is fully gray. About 50 percent of all people are graying by 50.
I learned such life-changing facts upon reading an article evaluating Obama's noticeable new shade. Apparently he is three years away from that magic age of 50.

The color of your hair is determined by the amount of distribution of the pigment known as Melanin. When one ages, the body produces less Melanin so hair gradually becomes gray or white. As one manufactures less Melanin -- Alas! -- one acquires more gray hair.

I suppose I should count myself lucky, since baldness doesn't seem to run in my family -- at least if baldness is considered less attractive, which is controversial. But my father was luckier. Not only did he not have any baldness to speak of, he had a kind of silver-steel colored hair that gave him a natural camouflage from acquired graying. I had a fourth-grade social studies teacher that had silver hair also. No telling how old that guy was. I guess the life-long silver haired people appear older earlier, but appear (relatively) younger longer. I wonder if that's a bug or a feature in their genome?



[image] Ming Chen "Scanning Electron Microscope Pictures" University of Alberta Website (Accessed Jan 19, 2009)

[1] "Age or Stress? The Graying of Barack Obama" ABC News Jan. 19, 2009.

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