JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer
Reiling, Assistant Editor.
If anyone had insisted 25 years ago that tuberculosis was only slightly
hereditary, but distinctly communicable, they would have been laughed at.
The germ theory has now become a doctrine of ever-widening scope, and we realize
that many affections are directly communicable and only a few hereditary.
At the present moment it seems that even for so old-fashioned an affection
as baldness a complete change of opinion as regards etiology is taking place.
As with tuberculosis, so it has long been noted that baldness is likely to
run in families. The sons of bald fathers are all the more likely to become
bald young, and it is not the rule to find a single bald brother where there
are a number in a family. On the other hand, daughters seldom become bald,
but then the women folk rarely use the combs and brushes of the male members
of the family, while boys not only use such articles in common, but often
exchange hats, have their hair cut frequently at barbers, and in general are
not rarely in circumstances in which they are likely to contract the disease,
if it is communicable.
PROPHYLAXIS OF BALDNESS.. JAMA. 2003;289(4):494. doi:10.1001/jama.289.4.494