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toddler, uncombable hair syndrome
Photo by Meghan Holmes on Unsplash

There are only about 100 known instances of people with uncombable hair syndrome.

This story originally appeared on 03.02.22


Have you ever come across something online that instantly made you smile? That’s what happens when people see Locklan Samples pop up on their Instagram feed. The cute dimple-faced toddler has a rare condition known as uncombable hair syndrome, which results in locks that stick straight up no matter how you try to manipulate them. It also causes the hair to be extremely fragile, so frequent combing can cause it to break off. The syndrome is so rare that Locklan is just one out of 100 people known to have it.

Locklan’s parents spoke with People magazine about how they discovered he was living with this ultra rare condition. Katelyn Samples, Locklan’s mom, explained that when he was born he had a head full of jet black hair, but eventually it fell out and was replaced with peach fuzz. A newborn baby’s hair is often completely different than the hair they end up with by the time they’re toddlers. It’s not uncommon for their hair to fall out in one spot or another, but it’s also not unheard of for their whole head to end up bald while their second sprigs of hair grow in.

Hair can grow back coarser, curlier or a completely different color. In Locklan’s case, his hair went from being jet black to platinum blonde peach fuzz, which eventually grew into hair that stood on end. Locklan’s parents said the color of his hair matched his brother’s hair, so it wasn’t a surprise, but the texture threw them for a loop.

When Katelyn posted pictures of Locklan on Instagram, a stranger messaged her asking if he had “uncombable hair syndrome.” This started Katelyn on a journey to find answers to what was going on with her infant’s hair, and if the condition was something she needed to be concerned about health-wise. Katelyn told People, it sent her into a “tailspin on Google.” Eventually, after climbing out of the Google rabbit hole, Katelyn called her son’s pediatrician to get answers. This turned out to be the first step toward an accurate diagnosis.

Locklan’s pediatrician had not heard of the condition and referred them to Atlanta's Emory Hospital to see a specialist. It was there they got the diagnosis. Katelyn explained to People, “We went to see her and she said she’d only seen this once in 19 years.” The doctor “didn’t think it was uncombable hair syndrome because of how rare it is, but they took samples and a pathologist looked at it under a special microscope,” and confirmed the diagnosis, she said.

He joins the very small club of people with the syndrome. Thankfully, this condition only affects the toddler’s hair and he is developing normally in all other aspects of his childhood. Katelyn revealed she hardly ever has to wash his hair unless it gets visibly dirty as it doesn’t collect oils at the scalp. Everywhere they go people are fascinated by Lock’s locks and ask to touch his soft tresses.

The family documents their journey on their Instagram account, and have found a support group via Facebook, where Katelyn says “it’s cool to see how other kids' hair has changed over the years—for some people it does not go away, and for others it becomes a little more manageable.” For now, Locklan enjoys the attention he gets from strangers, and he continues to bring a smile to people’s faces wherever he goes.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

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Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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