AGING

Going Gray May Prevent Cancer

If pulling out one gray hair means three more will grow in its place, maybe it’s time to yank out a fistful: Japanese researchers have discovered that hair follicles turned gray could be a natural cancer-preventing mechanism. According to the study published today in the journal Cell, hair turns gray when stem cells in mature hair follicles stop producing themselves. This could be the body’s way of preventing cells with damaged DNA from becoming cancerous, said David Fisher, chief of the dermatology department at Massachusetts General Hospital. “They’ve shown that this mechanism is actually removing damaged stem cells,” Fisher said. “The good news is if you do find yourself graying, you’re probably better off not having those cells persist.”