We have known for decades that the incidence of male pattern baldness increases with age. New research published in the February 2016 edition of the journal Science has shed light on why this is the case. Researchers examining the role of hair follicle stem cells (HFSC) in the hair growth cycle have found that accumulated DNA damage in these cells results in the depletion of a key signaling protein and the progressive miniaturization of the hair follicle (and eventual hair loss). The study represents a breakthrough in our understanding of the cell aging process and could open new pathways for the treatment of not only hair loss, but other age-related conditions as well.
A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology suggests that subcutaneous placement of testosterone pellets may boost hair regrowth in some women.
This retrospective analysis examined patients who had androgen deficiency. Of the 285 patients studied, seventy-six had some degree of hair loss prior to beginning treatment. At one year on testosterone replacement 63% reported an increase in hair regrowth on the scalp.
According to a study published in ePlasty (a peer-reviewed, open access medical journal), stem cell therapy has been found to increase new hair growth in both males and females who have androgenetic alopecia (genetic hair loss).
New research has shown that hair follicle dermal stem cells play a direct role in maintaining the dermal papilla cells that trigger hair follicle regeneration, a mechanism that protects hair follicles against injury, disease and aging.
A meta-analysis of six studies suggests a moderate linkage between balding at the crown and heart disease. The Japanese research team that investigated the linkage suggested that more investigation be done to target the medical causes of the linkage.
A study of Australian men between the ages of 40 and 69 suggests that men who were mostly bald by the age of 40 were more likely to develop prostate cancer in their 50s or 60s. The Melbourne Collaborative Cohort study of about 10,000 men showed that men who have high levels of testosterone may be more vulnerable to cancerous prostate tumors.
The team of scientists that conducted the long-term study, which was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, reported that both baldness and prostate cancer are age-related and androgen dependent conditions, so these findings are not surprising. The statement said, “We found that baldness at the age of 40 might be a marker of increased risk of prostate cancer.”
Could it be that Vitamin D is the cure for baldness that scientists have been looking for all these years? New research on Vitamin D, and its receptors in hair follicles, has taken us down a previously untrodden path that could, potentially, lead to new medical treatments for hair loss.
The Vitamin D receptor was previously known to stimulate hair follicles, which were in the dormant phase of hair growth, to grow hair when activated. The research into Vitamin D and its effect on hair and skin, centers around this receptor.
Sometimes an “accident” in the laboratory can lead to a remarkable breakthrough. Penicillin, Botox, Viagra, and Minoxidil — the active ingredient in Rogaine — were all unintended discoveries that led to treatments for a variety of conditions. A similar twist of fate, this time by researchers at UCLA, could lead scientists to a new hair loss treatment.
Research published in the January 2011 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (Vol. 121, issue 1) reveals another breakthrough in the medical community’s understanding of the causes of — and possible cure for — androgenetic alopecia, or common male pattern baldness. The new research shows that the presence of a certain type of cell, called a progenitor cell, is significantly reduced in men with common baldness compared to men who are not bald. Read on for more details on this breakthrough.
Synopsis: This publication reviews the major advances in the science of hair loss that have occurred over the past decade. These include advances in the diagnosis of androgenetic alopecia, advances in our understanding of the mechanisms behind genetic hair loss, studies in the efficacy of medical treatment of hereditary baldness, the development and FDA-approval of the lasercomb device for hair restoration, and the development of a screening test for hair loss.
Synopsis: This paper describes a case where severe psychological stress caused a patient’s hair shaft to be altered so that it mimicked an infestation of head lice. The correct diagnosis was made by microscopic examination of the deformed hair shafts.
By: Dr. Robert M. Bernstein
Updated: 2016-05-23 | Published: 2013-05-31