In a study called Sudden Whitening Of The Hair: An Historical Fiction? Anne-Marie Skellett, George Millington and Nick Levell, at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, try to chop off a myth at its roots. People's hair, they believe, does not all of a sudden turn white. It just doesn't. Goodbye, ye hoary tales of Queen Marie Antoinette of France and Sir Thomas More of England each turning whitehaired the night before being beheaded.
Hair whitening – "canities" in medical lingo – takes longer than days or even weeks, they report in a 2008 issue of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.
If somebody's hair did suddenly turn white, they say, it would most likely have an unnatural cause: "the washing out, or lack of access to a temporary hair dye".
They suggest one other possible, though maybe nonexistent, mechanism. The disease alopecia totalis makes people's hair fall out. Perhaps, in someone of mixed white and dark hair, some rare form of the disease might make only the dark strands fall out.
In medical monographs over the past 100 years, doctors have almost uniformly expressed scepticism.
In 1972, Josef Jelinek of New York University medical school, debunked dozens of supposedly documented sudden-hair-whitening claims, with a monograph in the Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine.
Categories: Hair Loss