London, October 30 : The stress of campaigning has apparently caused U.S. Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama to gain grey hair, for he had a jet black crop when he began the race as a sprightly 45-year-old.
Some media reports suggest that the pressure of election campaign, and hundreds of sleepless nights might be to blame for patches of salt and pepper that have sprouted all over Obama's head.
While the 47-year-old candidate was talking to supporters in Colorado in July, he seemed to have resigned to his more mature look.
"The grey is coming quick. By the time I'm sworn in, I'll look the part," the Telegraph quoted him as saying at the time.
His Chicago barber Zariff told Politico.com that his client's amount of grey was "normal for his age".
As to whether Obama had ever contemplated colouring his hair, Zariff said: "No, most definitely not. It will be quite some time before we go there."
Though there exists no conclusive proof that stress causes greying, some studies suggest that it may play a role.
Tyler Cymet of Sinai Hospital in Baltimore found in a study that patients under stress for two or three years went grey sooner than expected.
While Republican presidential candidate John McCain is presently Obama's main rival, the latter attributes the change in his appearance to the efforts he made to overcome Hillary Clinton, his opponent for the Democratic candidacy in the party's dramatic primary race.
"She is the primary reason I have all this grey in my hair now," he told guests at the Al Smith dinner earlier this month.