Hair transplant surgeon Robert M. Bernstein M.D. was recently interviewed on the National Public Radio program The People’s Pharmacy. Invited to speak about hair loss, Dr. Bernstein offered insights about the causes of hereditary baldness and it’s solutions, including hair transplantation.
The show was entitled “Dealing with Hair Loss” and addressed issues such as the importance of hair to our sense of well being.
The full hour radio interview was filled with informative facts about male pattern baldness, cultural attitudes toward hair loss and surgical hair restoration. For example, Dr. Bernstein was asked about his pioneering work in follicular unit hair transplantation and host of other questions ranging from the causes of hair loss to the psychological effects of balding. Here is one exchange from the interview:
Moderator: How one can tell the difference between hair loss from hormonal imbalances and common baldness?
Dr. Bernstein: Measuring hormone levels alone, although important for medical management, does not necessarily reveal whether the cause of the hair loss is actually hormone related or is genetic. The diagnosis is made by examining the scalp and looking at the hair under close magnification using an instrument called a “Densitometer.” If the hair shafts are of different calibers, this is relatively diagnostic of female patterned genetic hair loss and in this case hormone levels are often normal. Hormonal changes or imbalances, on the other hand, may cause alterations in hair texture (such as in thyroid disease) or a generalized shedding that can occur after childbirth (called telogen effluvium). In telogen effluvium, the hair can l actually fall out in clumps – you can literally get handfuls of hair, but the hair often returns over time. In genetic hair loss, however, it is not a question of the hair falling out any faster, but the hair being replaced with thinner, finer hair in each hair cycle, until the hair gradually disappears.