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April 1980

Hair Changes in Acrodermatitis Enteropathica

Author Affiliations

Toledo, Ohio

Arch Dermatol. 1980;116(4):384. doi:10.1001/archderm.1980.01640280020012

To the Editor.—  In a recent article,1 numerous abnormalities of the hair structure were noted by polarized microscopy in a patient with acrodermatitis enteropathica. These changes included spindly ends, elegant waves, and numerous striae throughout the length of the hair shaft. The authors suggested that hair examination under polarized light may provide a disease indicator for acrodermatitis enteropathica.We examined the hair of a 70-year-old man with an acquired zinc deficiency secondary to parenteral alimentation (iatrogenic acrodermatitis enteropathica). The patient's serum zinc level was 6.0 μg/dL (normal, 55 to 150 μg/dL); he had received hyperalimentation for eight weeks without trace mineral supplementation. Clinically, the patient had mild male pattern baldness. Under light and polarized microscopy, the scalp hairs were normal in all respects, with none of the changes noted in the previous study. With the qualification that the patient's zinc deficiency was possibly of inadequate duration for the development