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Open Access Research article

Associations among hair loss, oral sulfur-containing gases, and gastrointestinal and metabolic linked diseases in Japanese elderly men: pilot study

Toshihiro Ansai1*, Shuji Awano1, Inho Soh1, Yutaka Takata2, Akihiro Yoshida1, Tomoko Hamasaki1 and Tadamichi Takehara1

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Community Oral Health Science, Department of Health Promotion, Kyushu Dental College, Kitakyushu, Japan

2 Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Health Promotion, Kyushu Dental College, Kitakyushu, Japan

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BMC Public Health 2009, 9:82  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-82

Published: 13 March 2009



Male pattern baldness (MPB), an observable trait, has been reported to be associated with various diseases, such as prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease. Oral sulfur-containing gases have also been suggested to be useful as markers of systemic health condition. However, there are no known reports regarding the associations among MPB, and oral sulfur-containing gases, and systemic health conditions in males.


We studied 170 male subjects aged either 60 or 65 years old. The degree of MPB was assessed using the Norwood-Hamilton Baldness scale. Oral sulfur-containing gases were measured using a compact-designed device. All subjects completed physical and laboratory blood examinations, a face-to-face medical questionnaire, and an oral examination.


There were significant differences between the levels of CH3SCH3 and baldness patterns, independent of age. When we analyzed whether the association was linked to systemic health condition, a strong significant association was observed between the level of CH3SCH3 and severe MPB in subjects with gastrointestinal diseases, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia.


These results suggest that MPB is associated with the level of CH3SCH3, a sulfur-containing gas that causes oral malodor, in elderly Japanese males. Further, the association was intensified by the existence of gastrointestinal tract and metabolic disorders.