Hair dye and smoking linked to progressive liver disease

Mar 24, 2010

Hair dye and smoking both increase the risk of progressive liver disease, suggests research involving around 5000 people published in the journal Gut.

Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), which is an early form of , is a long term progressive autoimmune disease, in which environmental factors are thought to play a part.

It causes the liver's plumbing system of bile ducts to become inflamed, scarred, and blocked, leading to extensive tissue damage and irreversible, and ultimately fatal, liver cirrhosis.

The authors base their findings on two series of patients, one of which included 318 out of 381 new cases of PBC arising between 1997 and 2003 in the North East of England. The other series included 2258 out of 3217 members of the United Kingdom PBC Foundation, a national support group for people with the condition.

Finally, 2438 out of 3933 people randomly selected from the electoral roll, and matched for age and sex, were used as a comparison group.

All three groups were sent detailed questionnaires on potential environmental and associated with PBC.

As expected, , such as , thyroid and coeliac diseases were all more common among those with PBC. And those with a family history of autoimmune disease were more likely to have PBC.

The skin condition psoriasis, urinary infections, and shingles also significantly increased the likelihood of a PBC diagnosis.

Compared to those selected from the electoral roll, both series of patients were 63% more likely to have smoked at some point in their lives, and to have started before their diagnosis.

But patients with PBC were less likely to drink alcohol regularly, although this finding was not statistically significant. Previous research has indicated that alcohol is very unlikely to be a causative factor in PBC.

Less than 1% of male respondents used hair dye, whereas half of all the women surveyed did. When this was investigated among women only, those in the PBC support group were 37% more likely to develop PBC than women in the comparison group.

Respondents were not asked how often they dyed their hair, and it is not clear which component of hair dye might be responsible for this finding, say the authors.

But previous research has indicated an association between PBC and chemicals found in cosmetics, particularly octynoic acid, which is used in hair dye and nail polish, they add.

Explore further: Researchers discover target for treating dengue fever

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Indian spice may delay liver damage and cirrhosis

Mar 23, 2010

Curcumin, one of the principal components of the Indian spice turmeric, seems to delay the liver damage that eventually causes cirrhosis, suggests preliminary experimental research in the journal Gut.

Toxic bile damages the liver

Oct 24, 2008

Researchers at the Heidelberg University Hospital have discovered a new genetic disease that can lead to severe liver damage. Because a protective component of the bile is missing, the liver cells are exposed to the toxic ...

Recommended for you

Researchers discover target for treating dengue fever

1 hour ago

Two recent papers by a University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher and colleagues may help scientists develop treatments or vaccines for Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and other ...

Tracking flu levels with Wikipedia

1 hour ago

Can monitoring Wikipedia hits show how many people have the flu? Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital, USA, have developed a method of estimating levels of influenza-like illness in the American population by analysing ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Researchers discover target for treating dengue fever

Two recent papers by a University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher and colleagues may help scientists develop treatments or vaccines for Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and other ...

Study recalculates costs of combination vaccines

One of the most popular vaccine brands for children may not be the most cost-effective choice. And doctors may be overlooking some cost factors when choosing vaccines, driving the market toward what is actually a more expensive ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...