July 15, 2024

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Sleeping with Wet Hair Causes Cancer? Examining the Misconception

Sleeping with Wet Hair Causes Cancer? Examining the Misconception

Sleeping with Wet Hair Causes Cancer? Examining the Misconception

Recently, the topic of whether sleeping with wet hair can cause cancer has surged on social media. The trending articles suggest a link to a 2019 paper published in Nature. But is there really a connection between sleeping with wet hair and cancer?

Let’s first delve into the details of the Nature paper published by researchers from New York University on October 2, 2019, titled “The fungal mycobiome promotes pancreatic oncogenesis via activation of MBL.”

The study, conducted in mice and human pancreatic cancer patients, provided strong evidence that Malassezia, a fungus found in the gut, can transfer to the pancreas, accumulate significantly, and promote pancreatic cancer through the activation of Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) and the subsequent complement cascade.

Contrary to the trending misinformation, there is no mention in the paper about a link between sleeping with wet hair and cancer.

Sleeping with Wet Hair Causes Cancer? Examining the Misconception

The American Cancer Society has traditionally identified viruses, bacteria, and parasites as factors contributing to pancreatic cancer. However, prior to this research, fungi had not been linked to pancreatic cancer. Previous studies by the team indicated that bacteria could move from the gut to the pancreas. This study is the first to confirm that fungi, particularly Malassezia, can also enter the pancreas from the gut, and alterations in the fungal population promote the initiation and growth of tumors.

The researchers clarified that Malassezia, commonly found on the skin and scalp, has been associated with dandruff and certain types of eczema. Newer studies also suggest a connection between Malassezia and skin and colorectal cancers. The Nature study adds evidence that Malassezia is abundant in pancreatic tumors.

To test the impact of altering the fungal population on cancer growth, the research team treated mouse models with amphotericin B, a potent antifungal drug. The results showed not only a reduction in tumor size but also a 20%-30% decrease in the incidence of ductal abnormalities, an early phenomenon in pancreatic cancer development. Furthermore, antifungal treatment enhanced the anticancer effects of the standard chemotherapy drug gemcitabine by 15%-25%.

After clearing most fungi from the mouse pancreas through drug treatment, the researchers examined the effects of allowing specific fungal species to reproduce in pancreatic tissue. They found that in mice where Malassezia was allowed to reproduce, cancer growth accelerated by 20%, while other common fungal species did not exhibit this promoting effect.

The study further revealed the mechanism by which Malassezia promotes pancreatic cancer. A protein produced in the liver, Mannose-binding lectin (MBL), can bind to polysaccharides in the fungal cell wall, activating the complement cascade. This response, normally protective against infections and triggering healing processes, becomes harmful in the presence of genetic defects, promoting invasive tissue growth and, consequently, cancer development.

The researchers confirmed that the absence of MBL or C3 complement, or knocking down the receptor C3aR in tumor cells, could suppress cancer growth. Even in the presence of Malassezia in the pancreas, cancer progression could be slowed. These findings indicate that pathogenic fungi promote pancreatic cancer through the activation of the complement cascade by Mannose-binding lectin (MBL).

In conclusion, the study aimed to identify the specific fungal species most relevant to cancer development, guiding the development of targeted antifungal drugs to slow tumor growth while minimizing side effects.

To sum up, the trending content linking wet hair to Malassezia and then associating sleeping with wet hair to pancreatic cancer does not align with the content of the research paper. According to the study, there is no connection between sleeping with wet hair and cancer.

[Research Paper Link: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1608-2]

Sleeping with Wet Hair Causes Cancer? Examining the Misconception

(source:internet, reference only)

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