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Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration
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Hair Restoration Answers

What Causes Common Hair Loss or Baldness?

Q: I know that I am going to be bald because my father is bald and I am losing my hair just like him. What actually causes this kind of hair loss? — J.P., Paradise Valley, Arizona

A: Although there are many different causes, the overwhelming number of people that have hair loss have what is referred to as “patterned hair loss” or “androgenetic alopecia.”

In men, it is due to a hormone called DHT, which is a by-product of testosterone produced by the action of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. This enzyme is inhibited by the hair loss medication Propecia. See the causes of hair loss in men page on the Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration website for more information.

In women, the mechanism is a little bit more complex as another enzyme, aromatase, is involved in the metabolic pathway. See the causes of hair loss in women page on the Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration website for more information.

We know that the inheritance comes from both the mother’s and father’s side, although the actual genes causing hair loss in men and women have not yet been identified. Statistically, the inheritance from the maternal side appears to be a bit stronger, but the reason for this is unknown.

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Hair Restoration Research

Summary: Hope Grows For Bald Baby Boomers

An English based company called Intercytex has claimed some success in its research on hair cloning with its first testing in humans. This technique is similar to the one initially proposed by Dr. Colin Jahoda and published in 1999.

The idea is that certain cells (called fibroblasts) found at the bottom of hair follicles can be separated from the follicles after they have been removed from the scalp, and then be used to form new follicles.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Do You Recommend Hair Transplant for Hair Thinning Over Entire Scalp?

Q: I am 19 years old and seem to be thinning all over, including the sides. My father has all of his hair but my grandfather is totally bald. Should I have a hair transplant now or wait until I am older? — T.K., Garden City, NY

A: Most likely you have a type of androgenetic alopecia called Diffuse Unpatterned Alopecia (DUPA).

In this hereditary condition, hair thins all over rather than just on the front, top and back as in the more common male pattern baldness.

The fact that the back and sides of your scalp are thinning (the donor area) precludes you from being a candidate for surgery. The diagnosis can be made by observing a high degree of miniaturization (fine hair) in the donor area under a magnifier. This instrument is called a densitometer.

For further information, please read the article:

Bernstein RM, Rassman WR: Follicular Transplantation: Patient Evaluation and Surgical Planning, published in the journal Dermatologic Surgery in 1997. Specifically, read the last part of the article.

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Hair Restoration Research

5 alpha-Reductase Inhibition in Hair Growth

SUMMARY of Dr. Epstein’s Abstract from his presentation at the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, 2005 – Sydney, Australia

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is known to be the more potent androgen in both Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and in Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA). Testosterone is converted to DHT by the enzyme 5-α reductase in several organs including the prostate, hair follicles, skin, liver and sebaceous glands. 5-α reductase exists in two isoforms: type 1 and type 2. Type 2 is the predominant enzyme in prostate and hair follicles. Finasteride, approved in 1992, inhibits the type 2 isoenzyme, and is available in two doses: 1mg dose for AGA, and 5mg for BPH. Dutasteride, approved in January 2003 to treat BPH, is a dual inhibitor of both isoenzymes.

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Hair Restoration Research

Genetic Markers in Male and Female Patterned Hair Loss

Summary of Dr. Sinclair’s Abstract from his presentation at the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, 2005 – Sidney, Australia.

Twin studies have confirmed the strong heredity of androgenetic alopecia. The purpose of the present study is to explore the genetic basis of androgenetic alopecia by gene analysis. The study compared the sequence of several candidate genes between groups of individuals considered to be most and least genetically predisposed to androgenetic alopecia. Most likely are young males who already have a significant degree of baldness and least likely are those who are older and have no sign of hair loss.

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Hair Restoration Answers

In Early Hair Loss, Can Scalp Tingling and Hair Thinning be Related?

Q: I am twenty and think that I am starting to thin. I am also experiencing a slight tingling in my scalp. Are these related? — T.N., Philadelphia, PA

A: Most likely. Early androgenetic alopecia can be associated with a slight tingling or slight tenderness of the scalp.

You should see a dermatologist for evaluation and, if you have early male pattern baldness, consider starting finasteride (Propecia).

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