Citations 0
JAMA 100 Years Ago
January 22/29, 2003


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(4):494. doi:10.1001/jama.289.4.494

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.