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Hair-grooming syncope (also known as hair-combing syncope) is a form of syncope (a fainting disorder) associated with combing and brushing one's hair. It is most typically seen in children aged five to sixteen.

Hair-grooming syncope typically manifests as presyncopal symptoms during hair combing, brushing, braiding, trimming, curling, or blow drying.[1][2] These symptoms are followed by loss of consciousness and convulsions.[2] Migraines, abdominal pain, "feeling funny" or blurred vision may also occur before or after seizures.[1][3] Possible causes of the condition include pain or nerve stimulation on the scalp (similar to parade-ground syncope), or compression of blood vessels or nerves resulting from neck flexion or extension.[2] A 2009 study identified 111 pediatric cases of hair-grooming syncope in the United States, almost three-quarters of which were in female patients; that study found that the condition is most associated with hair cutting in males and brushing in females.[4]

Hair-grooming syncope may be misdiagnosed as epilepsy, but is better described as a "paroxysmal non-epileptic event".[1] It may also be related to orthostatic hypotension.[3] The condition is not associated with heart abnormalities.[5]

This form of syncope is a possible explanation for hair-brushing syndrome, an extremely rare condition in which static electricity is said to interrupt brain or organ function.[6] Only two cases of hair-brushing syndrome have been reported worldwide, one of which garnered media attention in 2011 when the Daily Mail announced that hair brushing could cause death.[7][8]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Riviello, James J., Rioux, Stephen D. (NaN undefined NaN). Hair-braiding and combing-induced syncope: A paroxysmal nonepileptic event. Journal of Epilepsy 6 (2): 115–117.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Lewis, Donald; Frank, L. Matthew (1993). Hair-grooming syncope seizures. Pediatrics 91 (4): 836–838.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Igarashi, Masanori, Boehm, Robert M; May, William N; Bornhofen, John H. Syncope associated with hair-grooming. Brain and Development 10 (4): 249–251.
  4. Evans, W. N., Acherman, R.; Kip, K.; Restrepo, H. (1 July 2009). Hair-Grooming Syncope in Children. Clinical Pediatrics 48 (8): 834–836.
  5. (March 2010) Fainting by Follicle. Pediatrics for Parents 26 (3).
  6. For this girl, brushing her hair could be life-threatening. Huffington Post.
  7. includeonly>Barnes, Julie-Anne. "Brush with death", Daily Mail, 18 August 2011.
  8. includeonly>"Teen with rare condition could die from brushing hair", Fox News, 18 August 2011.
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