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Why Does Stress Really Cause Gray Hair: Scientific Research Proof

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can stress cause grey hair

“Stress causes hair gray” – we have been listening this aphorism since our childhood. And now scientists at Harvard University have proven why and how stress is the biggest reason behind the white hair, especially at a young age or before getting old.

The study, published in Nature, “Advances Scientists – knowledge of how stress can impact the body”. Over the past two decades, researchers have found preliminary evidence that stress plays at least a small role in initiating the graying process. 

Over the long years, stories have connected stressful experiences with the phenomenon of hair graying. But now, for the first time, Harvard University scientists have discovered exactly how the process plays out and affects the color of our hair

As per the research under Dr. Ya-Chieh Hsu, a professor of regenerative biology at Harvard University in Massachusetts, US, stress activates nerves that are part of the fight-or-flight response, which in turn cause permanent damage to pigment-regenerating stem cells in hair follicles. Let’s find out further is grey hair caused by stress.

Why Does Stress Cause Grey Hair: Scientific Reason 

Our hair color is determined by cells called melanocytes, which are derived from melanocyte stem cells (MeSCs). And people age, the supply of MeSCs is gradually depleted, causing pigmented hair to be replaced with white hair.

Why Does Stress Cause Grey Hair

Though, stress affects the whole body, but here researchers first had to narrow down which body system was responsible for connecting stress to hair color. The team first hypothesized that stress causes an immune attack on pigment-producing cells.

However, when mice lacking immune cells still showed hair graying, researchers turned to the hormone cortisol. But once more, it was a dead end.

Hair colors of mouse in loss of pigmentation due to pain compared with the dark-coloured mouse: Image Source

While previous studies have linked stress to premature and accelerated hair greying, the underlying mechanism has remained unclear.

Researchers at Harvard were studying the effects of pain on mice by injecting a toxin called resiniferatoxin when they discovered the rodents’ fur had turned white in just four weeks.

The researchers exposed the animals to various types of stressors, including pain, restraint and psychological stress, during different phases of hair growth.

Each stressor was found to cause depletion of MeSCs, eventually leading to the development of patches of white hair. On further investigation, the authors found that stress activated the sympathetic nervous system, triggering the release of a neurotransmitter called noradrenaline.

They found that noradrenaline caused MeSCs to eventually “move away” from the hair follicles, thereby leading to loss of colour. The team then looked for genes whose expression was most altered during the stress experiments and narrowed it down to one that encodes a protein called CDK.

Elaborate sympathetic innervation, shown in magenta, around melanocyte stem cells, shown in yellow: Image Source

The Earlier Assumption Why Stress Causes Gray Hair

As per the researchers – Stress always elevates levels of the hormone cortisol in the body, so we thought that cortisol might play a role. But when they removed the adrenal gland from the mice so that they couldn’t produce cortisol-like hormones, but the hair still turned gray under stress, making this assumption wrong among them.

Actually, sympathetic nerves branch out into each hair follicle on the skin. The researchers found that stress causes these nerves to release the chemical norepinephrine, which gets taken up by nearby pigment-regenerating stem cells.

How Stress Can Permanently Damage Hair?

The research revealed that, in the hair follicle, certain stem cells act as a reservoir of pigment-producing cells. When hair regenerates, some of the stem cells convert into pigment-producing cells that color the hair in our body.

 Stress Can Permanently Damage Hair

Researchers found that the norepinephrine from sympathetic nerves causes the stem cells to activate excessively and then convert into pigment-producing cells, prematurely depleting the reservoir making your hair gray even at a very young age.

Also Read: What Causes Grey Hair At A Young Age: Reasons for Premature Greying

As per Dr. Hsu said they were expected that stress was bad for the body – but the detrimental impact of stress that discovered was beyond their imagination. Actually, after just a few days, all of the pigment-regenerating stem cells were lost and once they’re gone, you can’t regenerate pigment anymore resulting permanent damage.

Video: Dr. Explains How Stress affects Physical & Mental Health

To connect stress with hair graying, the researchers started with a whole-body response and progressively zoomed into individual organ systems, cell-to-cell interaction and, eventually, all the way down to molecular dynamics.

Yes, it is scientifically proven that stress really causes hair turn gray but still, there are multiple rezones that affect your hair color and its texture like water or pollution level environment, your health condition, eating habits and lifestyle etc. So, my personal advice is don’t take the stress and stay tension-free to live a healthy life. 

Sources: Bt.com, Dailymail UK & Nature

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Science

How Much Smaller Is The Moon Than The Earth: Moon Vs Earth Size

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moon size compared to earth

Space agencies on earth are in a race to explore the surface of the Moon from various perspective. Being a natural satellite of our planet and one of the nearest heavy astronomical body of our solar system you would be curious to know more about Moon, how far it is away from our planet and how big is the moon compared to earth etc.

Moon Distance from Earth and Time to Reach There

Moon is around 238,855 miles or 384,400 km away from the earth. And if you travel by spacecraft you can reach at Moon in 3 days. Actually, in zero gravity spacecraft can travel from normal speed of 40,000 km per hour to high speed of 266,000 km/hr depending on the spacecraft capability and path choose to reach at a specific location.

How Much Bigger Is The Earth Than The Moon?

While comparing the earth with Moon, you can account multiple parameters like diameter, volume, mass and surface area depending on your needs. So, we have compared the moon with earth accounting various parameters listed below.

Moon Size Compared To Earth

Diameter – Moon 3,474 km vs Earth 12,742 km (approx 3.67 times).

Surface Area – Moon 37.9 million square km vs Earth 510 million square km.

Volume – Moon 21.9 billion cubic km vs Earth more than 1 trillion cubic km.

Mass – Moon 7.347 x 1022kg vs Earth 5.97x 1024 kg (81 times).

Moon Orbit and Rotation Period Around Earth

I think it’s clear now that who is a bigger moon or earth. Moon is a natural satellite of earth and orbiting our planet nonstop. Moon takes around 27.322 days to orbit earth and rotate on its axis in 27 days. However, it takes around 29.5 days for the Sun to move all the way across the sky and return to its original position again.

Also Read: What Would Happen If The Moon Crashed Into Earth: Video

moon rotation around earth

Compare to other planets in our solar system, Moon is closest to earth, hence planetary astronomers and space agencies are in a quest to reach there and explore the surface of this astronomical body to find some unknown facts like ice or other minerals existence.

Just like US, Russia and China, India space agency ISRO has also launched its second lunar exploration mission in July 2019 to reach and explore the south pole surface of Moon. But unfortunately just before the landing on Moon (2.1 km above the surface), the lander Vikram lost the connection with ISRO and not able to communicate again. ISRO is trying to contact Vikram and will also launch its next moon mission in 2022.

Also Read: What Happened To Vikram Lander And Why Moon’s South Pole Is Important?

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What Happened To Vikram Lander And Why Moon’s South Pole Is Important?

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what happened to vikram lander

Chandrayaan 2 was one of the important space mission for India, standing it to 4th position after US, Russia and China and the first nation to explore the south pole of Moon. But unfortunately, the Rs 978 crore mission is incomplete as lander Vikram lost its communication with rover just before 2.1 km landings on the surface of Moon.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief, Dr. K Sivan confirmed that “lander Vikram lost the contact” just before the landing, which was the second component of the entire project that has three objects – Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyan).

However, the 2,379-kg Orbiter is still in the space and successfully orbiting the Moon with a mission life of one year. The Orbiter payloads will conduct remote-sensing observations from a 100 km orbit and sending the picture of the various surface of the moon.

What Happened To Vikram Lander?

Lander Vikram – Named after the famous after Dr. Vikram A Sarabhai, the Father of the Indian Space Programme is designed to function for one lunar day, which is equivalent to about 14 Earth days was capable to communicate with Indian scientist and was also designed to execute a soft landing on the lunar surface.

On 7 September 2019 at 1:37 AM, rough braking of Vikram lander started and at 1:49 AM rough breaking of Vikram lander ended and fine braking phase started. Meanwhile, it was a cheerful moment for the all ISRO scientists, they all started clapping saying Vikram lander completed the rough braking phase before the fine braking phase started for a soft landing.

But at the next moment, just before at the altitude of 2.1 km from the surface of Moon, communications from Vikram to ground station was lost. Actually, the lander deviated from its intended trajectory and the last location of the spacecraft showed it to be 1km from its landing site traveling vertically at 60m/s and horizontally at 48m/s.

Vikram Lander Spotted by Rover on Moon

As per the latest updates by ISRO, rover has found the lander in a single piece on Moon surface, even after the hard landing but standing at tilted position. Rover has also captured thermal images and sent to ISRO but unable to establish the connection with lander, as there are some obstacles stooping the space agency to establish the connection.

However, ISRO says, they can manage to raise “one-way” communication with Vikram, but it would not last more than 5-10 minutes. As there is always a two-way communication between the orbiter and lander, but they can attempt to communicate through one way which is a tricky situation and scientists are trying to handle that.

Why Vikram Lander Lost Contact?

Since the data was being analyzed by the ISRO scientist to know what exactly happened and why Vikram lost communication with ISRO. It will also research is there any further possibility to again establish communication with Vikram.

However, Vikram will be still in contact with orbiter which will help it to spot the exact location where lander has landed and how far from the predefined location which was at the south pole of the moon – A never before explored surface on this satellite of the earth.

Why Moon South Pole is Important for Vikam’s Landing?

It was 110th moon mission and many countries have explored the different part of lunar terrain but not find anything significant physical phenomenon like a sign of water or other essential minerals. Hence, Chandrayaan 2 mission was very important, as it was planned to land on the south pole of Moon which has not been unexplored till now.

Indian scientists have used their own technology to launch this mission without taking help from any foreign scientist or any other country’s space research center like NASA.

Also Read: Sleep for 60 Days in Bed and NASA Will Pay You $18,500 for this Job

As per scientist’s estimates, this region of Moon likely to have major elements such as Magnesium, Aluminium, Silicon, Calcium, Titanium, Iron, and Sodium. And Chandrayaan 2’s rover was designed to examine the presence of such minerals and also conduct a quantitative estimation of water-ice in the polar regions of the Moon.

Also Read: See How Fast Arctic Ice is Melting Due To Global Warming: Video

Being a natural satellite of earth, Moon is located at distance of 3,84,400 Km from here and Chandrayaan 2 moon mission was almost complete, as only 2 Km distance was left to reach there. However, unexpected technical glitches are close friend of such unmanned missions.

But such failures also teach scientists a lesson to study the loopholes and avoid such issues again in the next mission. Hopefully, Indian scientists will launch next lunar mission soon with better chances of success avoiding such failures or crashes while landing on Moon.

Also Watch: What Would Happen If The Moon Crashed Into Earth: Video

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Space

What Would Happen If The Moon Crashed Into Earth: Video

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What If The Moon Fell To Earth

You will be amazed to know what would happen if the moon hit the earth. You can watch the video below to see what if the moon fell to earth.

Video What Would Happen if the Moon Crashed into the Earth:

What If the Moon Fell to Earth?

Dear Moon, please stay where you are.

Posted by What.If on Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Also Read: How Much Smaller Is The Moon Than The Earth: Moon Vs Earth Size

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