Science News

Sweaty Palms Caused By Inherited Condition

Sun, 17th Mar 2002

Part of the show Using Viruses To Treat Cancers - Moira Brown

Do you worry about having clammy handshake and seeming really nervous in interviews because of sweaty palms? Scientists at UCLA, the University of California, have found that this embarrassing affliction is not a sign of nervousness, but is instead a more widespread problem, called hyperhidrosis, which is inherited from our parents. But, the good news is that it can be treated. "Traditionally, this syndrome was thought of as stress-related and has not been taken seriously by the medical community," said Dr Samuel Ahn of UCLA's Division of Vascular Surgery. "This is one of the first studies helping to support that 'sweaty palms' is a real physiological disorder that can be passed from generation to generation," Ahn said. The UCLA researchers have found that "sweaty-palm syndrome" is genetic and not nervous and affects up to five percent of the population. What's more, if one parent has the disorder, the study found that children have a 28 percent chance of also having hyperhidrosis," the UCLA research concluded. Help is at hand, however, because doctors have now developed a successful treatment for sweaty palms using "minimally invasive" surgery in which they cut a nerve supplying the sweat glands in the hands.

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