You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Uncombable Hair Syndrome Is a Real—and Very Rare—Genetic Condition

Mental Floss logo Mental Floss 6/16/2018 Emily Petsko

Albert Einstein posing for the camera: Uncombable Hair Syndrome Is a Real—and Very Rare—Genetic Condition © Keystone/Getty Images Uncombable Hair Syndrome Is a Real—and Very Rare—Genetic Condition Everyone has bad hair days from time to time, but for roughly 100 people around the world, unmanageable hair is an actual medical condition.

Uncombable hair syndrome, also known as spun glass hair syndrome, is a rare condition caused by a genetic mutation that affects the formation and shape of hair shafts, BuzzFeed reports. People with the condition tend to have dry, unruly hair that can't be combed flat. It grows slower than normal and is typically silver, blond, or straw-colored. For some people, the symptoms disappear with age.

a close up of a device: A diagram of a hair follicle © Provided by The Week Publications A diagram of a hair follicle

Although there have been only about 100 documented cases worldwide, one of the world's leading researchers on the condition, Regina Betz, of Germany's University of Bonn, believes there could be thousands of others who have it but have not been diagnosed. Some have speculated that Einstein had the condition, but without a genetic test, it's impossible to know for sure.

An 18-month-old American girl named Taylor McGowan is one of the few people with this syndrome. Her parents sent blood samples to Betz to see if they were carriers of the gene mutation, and the results came back positive for variations of PADI3, one of three genes responsible for the syndrome. According to IFL Science, the condition is recessive, meaning that it "only presents when individuals receive mutant gene copies from both parents." Hence it's so uncommon.

Taylor's parents have embraced their daughter's unique 'do, creating a Facebook page called Baby Einstein 2.0 to share Taylor's story and educate others about the condition.

"It's what makes her look ever so special, just like Albert Einstein," Taylor's mom, Cara, says in a video uploaded to YouTube by SWNS TV. "We wanted to share her story with the world in hopes of spreading awareness." 

Replay Video

[h/t BuzzFeed]


AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Mental Floss

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon