Dandruff is apparently caused by Malassezia globosa, a yeast.  Infection seems to speed up cell turnover, so skin cells mature and are shed in 2-7 days, instead of a month in people without dandruff. This has been known for a while.

But this is new: there is some indication that this fungus can migrate to the pancreas, where it is implicated in the pathogenesis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, the most common kind of pancreatic cancer (95%), approximately as deadly as an 88 millimeter shell to the head.

Interesting if correct.



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58 Responses to Dandruff

  1. Smithie says:

    I am reminded a bit of Stanley G. Weinbaum’s “Parasite Planet” (1935).

  2. Smithie says:

    This could possibly be more annoying than athlete’s foot.

  3. Kinch says:

    Correlation vs. Causation Random Thought: Warburg Effect?

    If we think of Tumors as being massive glucose sinks, could it be that it’s unsurprising to find glucose-hungry fungi or other microorganisms breeding standout populations in and around tumor sites?

    Not that I’d discount any potential cause of malignancy given the glorious weirdness of Creation.

    Now excuse me while I head out to stock up on Head & Shoulders!

    • gcochran9 says:

      This fungus likes lipids. Look at the paper.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Now excuse me while I head out to stock up on Head & Shoulders!”

      NO, no, no, a thousand times NO!

      Selsun Blue with selenium sulfide. Also good for tinea versicolor, tinea cruris, and tinea pedis. Put it on as a lotion and leave in place for 15-30 minutes, then wash off. Repeat twice in a week, then a once a week shampoo for a month.

      Selsun comes in different mixtures – make sure you get the selenium sulfide version, all the rest are tits on a boar.

      • gcochran9 says:

        The ketoconazole shampoo is likely more effective.

        • Bob says:

          Incidentally, the standard anti-hairloss regimen for guys today is the “Big Three”: Finasteride (Propecia), Minoxidil (Rogaine), and Nizoral, a ketoconazole shampoo that you can buy over the counter in the US. There’s also a version of Nizoral shampoo with more ketoconazole in it that you need a prescription for in the US, although in other countries like the UK they sell the higher concentration OTC as well. Nizoral is often the first thing guys turn to when experiencing hair loss since it’s the easiest to use and it’s sold everywhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the people buying it are guys trying to treat hairloss. I had never heard of the stuff until I started researching hairloss remedies and treatment online. It’s specifically marketed as an anti-dandruff shampoo and it’s sold widely, but not as well known as Head & Shoulders or Selsun Blue.

          I’m not exactly sure how it became part of the standard regimen. I don’t think it came from doctors or the medical community, but rather from online hairloss forums and word of mouth. I don’t know if it’s effective or necessary if you’re taking Finasteride or Minoxidil, but guys tend to just use it because it’s low cost and easy to use and shampooing is something you already do anyway. Scalp itchiness is a common symptom of male hairloss, similar to the itchiness from dandruff, so that may be how it started getting used for hairloss.

          • R. says:

            Nizoral is the only thing that worked for me re:dandruff. Head & Shoulders did nothing.

            Stopped using it about the time I gave up on dating. And I also think my dandruff got a somewhat better when I stopped using shampoo and started washing hair with water only. It’s still there but it’s not a blizzard anymore if I scratch my head.

      • another fred says:

        BTW, the selenium settles out and is hard to shake and mix in a new bottle. Keep the bottle upside down so you get the selenium. The bottle is made to store that way like ketchup.

        It works.

  4. andreadailyandweekly says:

    T-Gel is the way to go

  5. Bob says:

    Do you think a similar yeast might be involved in male pattern baldness? Peter Frost has argued this recently:


    • Bies Podkrakowski says:

      Yeast seems almost impossible to remove. I’ve tried, dandruff always returns.
      But if chemicals don’t work we could replace M. globosa with less dangerous M. restricta. Lets help the less dangerous yeast displace the other and everybody will live happily ever after.

    • Greying Wanderer says:

      weird thought but baldness as a defense?

  6. Bob says:

    Would this mean that antifungals would cure pancreatic cancer?

  7. Rhett says:

    This is fascinating. OT, was Alger Hiss conclusively guilty?

    I just randomly stumbled upon this interview, and there are myriad red flags for deception in his responses.

    Thanks and Merry (belated) Christmas dudebrah.

    • Woof says:

      I believe the Venona papers that were declassified conclusively showed he was a dirty commie and guilty as charged.

      • Rhett says:

        Yeah, no I already believed that, I was just unsure if the evidence was dispostive since I’d read that there was some uncertainty as to whether or not he was indeed the GRU asset codenamed ALES.

        • Rhett says:

          That said, in the above video he gives numerous indications of deception in his answers to the interviewer’s questions. Among others, the early on in the video the involuntary “duper’s smile” is both pronounced and extremely telling.

  8. Steven E. Sailer says:

    Is there anything we can do about this?

    • Henry Scrope says:

      Without a prescription maybe olive leaf oil, or garlic. P D Mangan I think recommended lavendar oil to rub on one’s scalp for dandruff as it is an anti-fungal.

  9. dearieme says:

    Should we all drink a little head-and-shoulders before bed?

  10. BB753 says:

    So, if you’re prone to dandruff (in my case because of chronic atopic dermatitis), even if you wash your hair every day with Heads & Shoulders shampoo, you’re doomed to die of pancreatic cancer? Or is it just dandruff caused by Malassezia globosa that’s deadly?

  11. DDK says:

    What do you think of the gingipain hypothesis?

  12. Martin says:

    Greg, do you think prion formation could also be precipitated by pathogens?

  13. Ben says:

    It’s been known for a while that aspergillus can contribute to hepatocellular carcinoma. However, aflatoxin driven hepatocellular carcinoma accounts for a small proportion of liver cancer (most cases are related to alcohol, chronic hepatitis and other liver pathology) as it’s unlikely to become a significant thing in most people with functional immune systems. I’d guess that this is similar in that regard but it’s interesting nonetheless.

  14. Don’t forget the connection between malassezia and Crohn’s disease: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190305112836.htm

    “We were surprised to find that Malassezia restrica was more common on intestinal tissue surfaces in Crohn’s disease patients than in healthy people,” says co-author David Underhill, Janis and William Wetsman Family Chair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. “Further, the presence of Malassezia was linked to a common variation in a gene known to be important for immunity to fungi — a genetic signature more common in patients with Crohn’s disease than the healthy population.”

  15. glenndc says:

    Well, I have to ask, when did you and Harpending corrupt Brett Stephens and make him an unperson? Screw the fungi, this is more fun.

  16. The Z Blog says:

    A few years back there was a paper suggesting a correlation between gum disease and pancreatic cancer. Specifically, a particular bacteria that causes gum disease.


  17. Rob says:

    I listened to the interview you did with Miller that was posted a couple days ago. It ended really abruptly. Is there a part 2?

  18. Frau Katze says:

    There is apparently a hereditary pancreatic cancer in Jimmy Carter’s family. His brother, father and two sisters all died from pancreatic cancer.

    He was finally diagnosed with it himself, at age 90. But he’s still alive at age 95.

    That’s a strange pattern. I don’t know enough on the subject to hazard a guess as to why he still alive.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Ok I know it’s probably not the right place to ask this, but I don’t know any better.
    Is there any relationship between dandruff and acne? I suffer from both and I am curious!

  20. Dividualist says:

    I would like to comment on https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2018/08/20/natural-aristocracy/ here because nobody is reading that thread anymore.

    According to Alasdair MacIntyre, this problem was entirely what Socratic philosophy was about. Society must reward people who have a prosocial virtue, like soldiers who can run fast, so they end up creating some kind of a competition, like a running race for soldiers. But the problem is that people will learn to “game the rules”, like soldiers who focus on becoming fast runners and not good soldiers. According to MacIntyre, the Sophists considered that okay, and claims that the rediscovery of Sophist texts lead to Liberalism. The Socratics tried to fix the system, basically telling people to not focus on winning rewards, but focus on developing actual prosocial virtue because virtue is its own reward.

    “Consider the example of a highly intelligent seven-year-old child whom I wish to teach to play chess, although the child has no particular desire to learn the game. The child does however have a very strong desire for candy and little chance of obtaining it. I therefore tell the child that if the child will play chess with me once a week I will give the child 50 cents worth of candy; moreover I tell the child that I will always play in such a way that it will be difficult, but not impossible, for the child to win and that, if the child wins, the child will receive an extra 50 cents worth of candy. Thus motivated the child plays and plays to win. Notice however that, so long as it is the candy alone which provides the child with a good reason for playing chess, the child has no reason not to cheat and every reason to cheat, provided he or she can do so successfully. But, so we may hope, there will come a time when the child will find in those goods specific to chess, in the achievement of a certain highly particular kind of analytical skill, strategic imagination and competitive intensity, a new set of reasons, reasons now not just for winning on a particular occasion, but for trying to excel in whatever way the game of chess demands. Now if the child cheats, he or she will be defeating not me, but himself or herself.” (Alasdair MacIntyre: Whose Justice? Which Rationality?”)

    • Greying Wanderer says:

      “Society must reward people who have a prosocial virtue …(snip) … But the problem is that people will learn to “game the rules””

      e.g. virtue signalling behavior as a mask for sociopathy.

      i think we need to fully understand the genetics of behavior so we could test wannabe politicians for guilt genes.

  21. JRM says:

    A related species, malassezia furfur (formerly known as pityrosporum orbiculare), appears to be vulnerable to ultraviolet light so much so that it produces a compound, pityriacitrin, to protect itself from ultraviolet light. For example, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2436418

    It would be a strange world if we figured out the anti-cancer effect of sunlight was due to ultraviolet light keeping microorganisms in check rather than through the production of vitamin D.

    This study finds a negative correlation between ultraviolet light and pancreatic cancer and attributes it to vitamin D. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25864626

    Slightly off-topic, some bacteria produce porphyrins which kill them when exposed to blue light. Here is a study where blue light was used in vitro against h. pylori: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28648894

  22. Red Sunset says:

    “Malassezia globosa, a yeast … this fungus can migrate”

    To be clear, the article says that the fungus is the causitive factor in PDA but that MG is often also associated with the fungus.

  23. brokenyogi says:

    Unrelated, but I wonder if you’ve seen or already commented on this paper describing a migration circa 65kya from South Africa into East Africa, contributing Khoisan and other south african genetics to the emergence of modern humans around that time. You handed my ass to me a little while back for suggesting such a thing, but maybe I just got lucky.


  24. Justin from Texas says:

    No one seems interested in understanding baldness within an evolutionary medicine framework.

    Why do some men lose all their hair by 20? Why do some lose a lot of it? It looks bad. While it’s falling out you’re subject to scalp inflammation. The baldness process is uneven. It’s not an adaptation and not part of the design of the human organism.

    It has to be pathogenic. Like ulcers or homosexuality. The body doesn’t just ‘break’ for no reason. My guess it’s it’s a result of some yeast or fungus overgrowing. Change the biome on your scalp and end the pathogenic activity. I haven’t got good ideas on how to effect this change.

  25. Andrea says:

    I know you may be busy with viruses at the moment, but do not forget about fungi.
    I think you should:

    Have a look at this website: malassezia.org
    Read this paper (Malassezia and Crohn’s): https://www.cell.com/cell-host-microbe/pdfExtended/S1931-3128(19)30045-9
    Read this paper (Malassezi and Parkinson’s): https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fneur.2019.00758/full
    Read this paper (Malassezia and SpA, with a passage on Malassezia and Crohn’s – note the article was published 1 year before confirmation from Limon et al. above): https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmed.2018.00080/full
    If you really have a lot of time, read this book (or at least skim through it): http://www.psp94.com/psp94_20180630.pdf

    This is a major breakthrough in the history of medicine and it essentially confirms that you and Paul Ewald were on the right track.
    If you want more info, shoot me an email as I know some of the guys involved in the project.


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