Monthly Archives: November 2016

Uncombable hair, new research!

‘Dear Eva, I read your blog; you have amazing children and I recently started Crossfit too!’
Mention those two things and you have my full attention.

American Journal of Human Genetics

The writer of this email turned out to be a German Professor, called Regina C. Betz. She has a research group at the Institute of Human Genetics in Bonn. They are usually doing research on hair loss disorder and rare skin syndromes. The past years however, they also researched ‘Struwwelpeter syndrome’ or ‘Uncombable hair syndrome’ or ‘Pili trianguli’ or ‘Onkambaar haar syndroom’ as we say in Dutch. She published an article about her research in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Uncombable hair syndrome

Both our girls have Uncombable hair syndrome (Uhs). I’ve written about their extremely fizzy, slowly growing very blonde hair before. It’s very well combable btw, it’s just not so easy to tame. The hair has a will of its own, often wishes to go straight up. On the other hand; it’s very easy to braid and it looks amazing. I never knew what exactly caused it and now we do!

Uncombable research

The most valuable conclusion is that the fizzy hair both our girls have is caused by a rare genetic mutation. Regina and her team discovered that a mutation in three genes can cause the hair to be ‘misshaped’ and thus ‘uncombable’. Another thing I found interesting is that the name ‘syndrome’ is actually not applicable as in most cases only the hair is affected, it’s an isolated defect. I knew that, but it’s always nice to have things like that confirmed. Do read the article for some more background information!

Uncombable inaccuracies

The article was widely spread and received a lot of media attention. Some of it is correct, some of it is interesting on another level, or just funny.

* If you suffer a bad hair day once in a while, you don’t have Uhs. You have a bad hair day and well, live with it.
* If you have difficulties combing your children’s hair, they don’t have Uhs. If they have dreadlocks, they don’t have Uhs. Maybe use conditioner, or comb it more often?
* If you have weird hair, it’s not necessarily Uhs. You might just have weird hair (live with it).

Participate in the name of science

Regina and I spoke on the phone the other day, which was amazing. She’s extremely enthusiastic and I personally find it so nice to finally have an answer to the question what causes  Uhs. Joost and I will participate in her research, because we, of course want to know which genes are responsible for our girls’ hair.
If you suspect that you or your children have Uncombable hair syndrome, let me know! Regina would love to get in touch with you for scientific purposes.

Uncombable hair infographic

Moving is a memory game

This is going to be an easy move. We don’t have to cross an ocean or time zone. We do have to say goodbye, but we can catch up with our favorite neighbors whenever we want. The children won’t change schools and we will continuously sleep in our own beds instead of in Airbnb rentals for weeks.

The End.

Ha. Ha.

1. I’m panicking all the boxes myself. No, that is not misspelled.
2. The children and especially the girls tell me everyday that they don’t want to move because they LOVE the kids in the neighborhood.
3. The house is not finished yet and we will have to camp while people are still working on things.
4. The children relive previous moves.
5. I’m reliving previous moves too and I’m so aware of the fact that this move marks the end of our ‘living abroad life’.

Okay, where I said ‘easy’ with regard to this move, I meant ‘less hard’. Because moving in general is not easy. You leave a place that holds so many memories. When I’m stacking boxes in the smallest room of the house, I’m thrown back to changing Lucie’s diapers when she was just born. Eight diapers in four hours and that was perfectly healthy (said the doctor whom we phoned in despair because this couldn’t be normal?!) I remember Boris’ first steps and gosh, coming home with Bobbie from the hospital, dying to introduce number three to world.

Having lived abroad means I’m packing things from various parts of the world. I’m thrown back to beaches, houses, parties, friends. The children help me pack and together we go through pictures of our farewell parties in South Africa and the USA: ‘Oh mum, I remember that day, the donut biting game was so much fun!’ The memories are sweet and I wanted to write that the process is heavy, but I refuse to do so. It’s actually really nice to relive memories and it’s really good to experience that every filled box brings us closer to our new home.

Goodbyes were more definite when we moved overseas; we left a place and country we will most likely never live in again. Moving only one mile is easier, but it still feels like marking the end of a part of our life. It makes me sad and happy at the same time but happiness overrules. I wouldn’t change a thing and will again and again choose to move, to go UP! and add stories to our adventure book.