Dr. Christiano Interviewed on Alopecia, Hair Loss Genetics by New York TimesJanuary 4th, 2011
Dr. Angela Christiano, a colleague of Dr. Bernstein’s at Columbia University, has been studying the causes of alopecia areata and genetic hair loss for many years. She, in fact, suffers from the disease as well.
The New York Times has published a question and answer interview with Dr. Christiano which covers her own struggle with alopecia, her research into the causes of genetic hair loss, and where she sees the field going in the future. Here is one exchange that offers a window into how her research is breaking new ground in the field of hair loss genetics:
Q. When were you able to actually do the study?
A. In 2008. We published our findings this past July. Ours was the first study of alopecia to use a genome-wide approach. By checking the DNA of 1,000 alopecia patients against a control group of 1,000 without it, we identified 139 markers for the disease across the genome.
We also found a big surprise. For years, people thought that alopecia was probably the stepchild of autoimmune skin diseases like psoriasis and vitiligo. The astonishing news is that it shares virtually no genes with those. It’s actually linked to rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes 1 and celiac disease.
Continued discovery by Dr. Christiano and others in the field of hair loss genetics will lead to clues like these, which will shape the future of hair loss treatment. The hope for hair loss sufferers around the world is that a medical treatment can be developed which will effectively cure androgenetic alopecia, or common baldness. There is a lot of ground to be covered and there are many studies yet to be conducted, but progress is being made.
You can read more about Dr. Christiano’s research on our Hair Loss Genetics News page.
Read the article and listen to a two minute audio stream of the interview at the NYT.
Photo c/o Ruth Fremson/The New York Times