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Hair Restoration Research

JAK Inhibitors Prove Effective in Trials on Alopecia Areata

Two new studies researching a class of drugs called JAK inhibitors have shown that oral treatment results in significant hair regrowth in patients with alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition that causes non-scarring patches of localized hair loss. Currently there is no cure for alopecia areata, so the possibility of a safe, effective medication is welcome news for thousands of affected patients. The two studies were published in September 2016 in the journal JCI Insight, a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to biomedical research.

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Hair Restoration Research

Dr. Christiano Discovers JAK Inhibitors as Potential New Topical Treatment for Hair Loss

Dr. Angela Christiano and her team of researchers at Columbia University studying the autoimmune disease Alopecia areata, have shed new light on how to move hair follicles from their resting (telogen) stage into the anagen phase where they can produce normal hairs. Their study, published in the October issue of Science Advances, introduces the possibility of a new topical medication for hair growth. The finding has implications in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia (common hair loss) as well as Alopecia areata, which causes a non-scarring form of localized hair loss.

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Hair Restoration Research

Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) is a Practical, Permanent Cosmetic Treatment for Hair Loss

Hair restoration physicians William R. Rassman, Jae P. Pak, and Jino Kim have outlined a practical, permanent cosmetic treatment for hair loss, called scalp micropigmentation (SMP) in a paper published in the journal Hair Transplant Forum International.

The paper discussed case studies of six hair loss patients of varying age and hair loss condition who used SMP to camouflage scalp scars or areas of hair loss:

  1. A man in his mid-30s, who was diagnosed with scarring alopecia in his teens, used SMP to camouflage his scarring.
  2. A 30-year-old male, who had worn a hat continually since being diagnosed with alopecia totalis in his teens, used SMP to frame his face and re-build his self-esteem.
  3. A 55-year-old man, who had large-graft (“hair plug”) hair transplants and several scalp reductions, used SMP to fill in plug scars and re-define his hairline.
  4. A 32-year-old man used SMP to cover donor area scars from previous FUT procedures, fill in his thinning crown, and create a smooth hairline.
  5. A 22-year-old man filled in scars from a previous FUE hair transplant using scalp micropigmentation.
  6. A 45-year-old man, who had always shaved his head and refused hair transplantation, used SMP to create a hairline with an overall look of a clean-shaven head.
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Hair Restoration Answers

Going Bald. Do You Perform a Test for LPP (Lichen Planopilaris)?

Q: Hi Dr. Bernstein, I am a 30 year old man with a balding crown. I’m 99.9% sure its male pattern baldness (I’m currently on Propecia and Rogaine). I recently read about how people going bald are getting tested for LPP (lichen planopilaris). Do you perform this test? — F.L., Scarsdale, NY

A: Lichen Planopilaris (believed to be a type of autoimmune disease) occurs more frequently in women than in men and more commonly in African-Americans than in Caucasians. The variation that could be confused with androgenic alopecia in men is central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (or CCCA). While definitive testing would involve a scalp biopsy, this is rarely necessary as the doctor can easily tell by just examining you with the naked eye using magnification (densitometry).

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Hair Restoration Research

Dr. Christiano Interviewed on Alopecia, Hair Loss Genetics by New York Times

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.

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Hair Restoration Research

Hair Cloning Shows Promise in New Stem Cell Study

A new study, using hair cloning therapy to regrow hair, shows promise for all individuals suffering from alopecia areata. The study — conducted by Marwa Fawzi, a dermatologist at the University of Cairo Faculty of Medicine, and reported on Bloomberg.com — used stem cells from the scalps of eight children with alopecia areata to regenerate their own hair.

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Hair Restoration Answers

What are the Most Common Causes of Hair Loss in Women?

Q: What are the most common causes of hair loss in women other than genes?

A: The most common causes for localized hair loss in women are traction (due to tight braiding) and alopecia areata (an autoimmune disease that produces smooth round patches of hair loss).

Other than genetic (hereditary) thinning; generalized hair loss is most commonly caused by medications, anemia, and thyroid disease.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Can I Have a Hair Transplant to Cover a Single Bald Patch?

Q: I just started to lose my hair but it’s just in one spot, like a circle on the left side of my head. Do you ever do a hair transplant just into a bald spot and not the whole head? — D.F., Esher, U.K.

A: It is possible to have a hair restoration procedure into a single bald spot. However, it would be most beneficial to first determine the cause of the condition.

Bald spots caused by alopecia areata (an autoimmune disease) are best treated with injections of steroids into the scalp, rather than with a hair transplant. In fact, the transplanted hair can be rejected in patients with this condition.

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Hair Restoration Answers

What Causes Patch of Hair Loss in Women?

Q: I am a 34 year woman with a patch of hair loss by my temple. I went to the salon to have my hair done and to my surprise my hairdresser told me that I have Alopecia? First time I’d heard of it, my G.P is not very concerned about it but having read so much about it on this site I am becoming a bit concerned. The rest of my hair is healthy any suggestions and diagnosis? — M.V., Williamsburg, Brooklyn

A: “Alopecia” is just a generic term for any kind of hair loss.

It sounds like you have a specific condition called alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that presents with the sudden appearance of well localized bald spot(s) on the scalp or other parts of the body. The underlying skin is always normal.

The treatment is injections with cortisone. Hair transplant surgery is not indicated for this condition.

You should see a dermatologist to confirm the diagnosis and treat.

Other diagnoses to consider are triangular alopecia (which would have been present since childhood) and traction alopecia (that is cased by constant tugging on the hair).

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Hair Restoration Answers

Can a Hair Transplant Correct Balding from Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE)?

Q: I have a bald patch on my scalp diagnosed as DLE, can this be corrected with a hair transplant? – V.Q., Scarsdale, N.Y.

A: DLE or discoid lupus erythematosus is a type of autoimmune disease where the body produces an inflammatory reaction to components of the skin, causing it to scar and lose hair.

The skin in the area of hair loss generally has a smooth appearance with tiny empty hair follicles, redness, and altered pigmentation. These skin changes help to differentiate it from the more common condition alopecia areata where the underlying skin appears normal.

The diagnosis of DLE can be confirmed by biopsy. Because DLE may exhibit a property called Koebnerization, where direct trauma can make the lesions enlarge, surgical hair restoration risks making the condition worse and is, therefore, not indicated.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Can a Hair Transplant Repair the Bald Areas Caused by Alopecia Areata?

Q: Can a hair transplant into bald areas caused by alopecia areata ever be successful? — R.K., Providence, R.I.

A: Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own hair follicles. It generally appears as round patches of smooth bald areas scattered in the scalp or beard. Less commonly, it can involve the entire scalp (alopecia totalis) or all facial and body hair (alopecia universalis). Unless the condition is well localized and totally stable, hair transplantation is not likely to be effective because the transplanted hair would be subject to the same problem.

We prefer that one have no new lesions for a minimum of two years before considering surgical hair restoration, although this does not ensure that the procedure will be successful.

You may find more information on this relatively common condition at the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF). For more information, visit: www.naaf.org.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Hair Loss in Women the Topic in Dr. Bernstein ‘Early Show’ Interview

Excerpt from the interview:

Julie Chen: Dr. Bernstein, I want to go through all the options that are available for women, but what is the difference between female and male hair loss option-wise. What can we do to treat it?
Dr. Bernstein: The main difference medically is that women have hair loss often from hormonal changes and it’s due to an imbalance between progesterones and estrogens. That equilibrium can be reestablished with medication. Often birth control pills can do that.

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