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Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration
Hair Restoration Research

Study More Accurately Predicts Severe Balding Risk Using New Genetic Profile

What are the chances that I will go bald? How bald will I be? Can I know for sure? These are among the most common questions we get from patients in our hair loss consultations. Despite extensive knowledge about the mechanisms and causes of androgenetic alopecia (common baldness), the answers to these questions have been a bit hazy. New research has sharpened the focus on the genetic mix that results in hair loss and has enabled more accurate predictions. A study published in February 2017 in the journal PLoS Genetics identified over 250 gene locations newly linked to hair loss. Using this information, researchers more accurately predicted severe balding compared to previous methods.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Can Resistance Training Accelerate Hair Loss?

Q: I have read several articles on the internet which suggest that resistance training can accelerate male pattern baldness. Is there any truth in this? — B.F., Altherton, CA

A: Anything that raises androgen levels in your body can potentially accelerate hair loss. That said, I suggest to exercise as you normally would. As long as you don’t take drugs to enhance your workout, the effects should be minimal.

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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 Research

Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP): a Permanent Cosmetic Tattoo to Conceal Hair Loss and Camouflage Scalp Scars

According to an article published in the journal of Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics, scalp micropigmentation (SMP) has been found to be a useful cosmetic treatment for hair loss and scalp scars.

SMP is a scalp tattooing technique that uses fine dots – like a stippled painting – to mimic the appearance of extremely short hairs on an otherwise bald scalp.

SMP can create the appearance of a fuller head of hair on a scalp that is losing hair by softening the contrast between the hair that remains and the color of the scalp. It can also effectively camouflage a scalp scar, like the donor scar from a strip hair transplant procedure, the scar from a scalp reduction or scars from trauma to the scalp.

Finally, SMP can help augment the results from either a Follicular Unit Hair Transplant (FUT) or a Robotic FUE Transplant (R-FUE), especially for patients who do not have enough donor hair to give the appearance of full coverage.

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Hair Restoration Research

Pilot Study Finds Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Reverses Male and Female Pattern Baldness

Evidence that PRP may help to reverse male and female pattern baldness was found in a pilot study published in Dermatologic Surgery. In this study, researchers observed at least some noticeable improvement in 64 patients with androgenetic alopecia. Moreover, 47% of those patients experienced at least moderate to very good improvement, a level that the researchers defined as “clinically important.”

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Hair Restoration Research

Clinical Study: Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Promotes Hair Growth in Men with Pattern Hair Loss

Growth factors in platelet-rich plasma (PRP) have been used to facilitate wound healing, but recently, studies have suggested that PRP may also serve as a safe and effective treatment option for male and female pattern hair loss. A recently published study in the journal BioMed Research International found that treatments of platelet-rich plasma stimulated hair growth in 10 males with pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia).

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Hair Restoration Research

Caffeine Reverses Androgenetic Alopecia, Promotes Hair Growth in Cell-Cultured Hair Follicles

Hair loss caused by androgenetic alopecia can be stopped by existing medications, but to date, only two FDA-approved drugs are available for treatment of AGA: finasteride (Proscar ®) and topical minoxidil (Rogaine®). Unfortunately, up to 3 out of 10 individuals will not respond to one or more of these drugs. Because of this, researchers have searched for alternate treatments, especially for women since finasteride is not approved for use in female patients.

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Hair Restoration Research

Early Baldness May Suggest Prostate Cancer Risk

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.”

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Hair Restoration Answers

Can You Program the FUE Robot To Avoid Scars?

Q: I heard that for someone who has had several strip procedures, the ARTAS robot for FUE does not work because it is programmed to work with “textbook male pattern baldness”, which I no longer have. I thought the scars from previous procedures, as well as the large amount of already transplanted hair, might throw off the robot’s programming (it wouldn’t quite know what to do). But if I am wrong about this then the robot may in fact be the best approach for me. Please advise. — N.C., Paris, France

A: When performing robotic hair transplants on patients with prior surgery, I program the robot to avoid scarred areas – just as we would do visually when performing manual FUE.

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Hair Restoration Research

Hair Cloning Study Shows RepliCel’s Efficacy In Increasing Hair Density

RepliCel Life Sciences; a company out of Vancouver, Canada; is studying the use of hair cloning techniques to treat male pattern baldness and hair loss in women.

The study is in progress, but analysis of the 6-month interim results of the first phases have been published. As indicated in the graphic above, the preliminary results at 6 months show that vellus hair density has increased 24.9%, terminal hair density has increased 14.5%, overall hair density increased by 19.2%, and cumulative thickness per area increased by 15.4%.

Also, almost two-thirds of subjects (10 subjects out of 16, or 63%) received a greater than 5% increase in hair density at the injection site. Of that group of 10 subjects, 7 of them saw hair density improve by more than 10%, with the biggest improvement in hair density being an increase of 19.6% in one subject.

Lortkipanidze N, et al. 2012

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Hair Cloning “Just A Question Of Time” Dr. Bernstein Tells New York Times

NYT - New Stratagems in the Quest for HairDr. Bernstein is featured in a New York Times article — “New Stratagems in the Quest for Hair” — about the latest advances in hair restoration. The article mentions Dr. Bernstein’s pioneering research on hair cloning, including his studies on hair multiplication using the breakthrough biotechnology of ACell’s MatriStem® extracellular matrix.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Is Genetic Hair Loss Linked to Other Diseases?

Q: There was a retrospective study by Lotufo et al. linking male pattern baldness to heart disease. Do you think there are other links like this for androgenetic alopecia?

A: Family studies revealed both the androgen receptor locus on the X chromosome, as well as a new locus on chromosome 3q26. Association studies performed in two independent groups revealed a locus on chromosome 20 (not near any known genes) as well as the androgen receptor on the X chromosome. Read on for the rest of the answer.

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Hair Restoration Research

Research Points to Decreased “Progenitor” Stem Cells as Cause of Male Pattern Baldness

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.

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Hair Restoration Research

Latisse Drug as Hair Loss Treatment? Trials Under Way on New Formulation of Bimatoprost

Latisse, the brand name for the drug bimatoprost, is commonly used to promote eyelash growth in women who want their eyelashes to be longer, thicker, and darker, typically for cosmetic reasons.

In a publication on ClinicalTrials.gov, Allergan, the pharmaceutical company that produces Latisse, has announced a new study on the safety and efficacy of a new formulation of bimatoprost for use as a topical hair loss treatment for general baldness.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Tom Brady Balding Report On CBS News Features Dr. Bernstein

The Early Show - CBS NewsCBS News’ The Early Show has picked up the “balding buzz” that first started to grow when the National Enquirer reported that New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady is seeking advice on how to treat his hair loss.

CBS turned to Dr. Bernstein for his expert medical opinion on Brady’s hair loss. View the post to watch the video and read some links on hair loss.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Bernstein Boosts Buzz On Balding Brady

Tom Brady Hair TransplantNew England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has a multimillion dollar contract, a supermodel wife, and not one, not two, but three Super Bowl rings. He also has androgenetic alopecia, or genetically inherited male pattern baldness, and future prospects of being a balding celebrity. Or does he?

An article in the New York Daily News reports that Mr. Brady has consulted with a hair transplant physician about his hair loss. The Daily News interviewed both Dr. Bernstein and a patient at Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration for the article. Read the full post for quotations from the article and some links on hair loss genetics.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Will Propecia Cause Or Inhibit Chest Hair Growth?

Q: I am currently 28. I have been taking Propecia for 6 years and recently began to grow sparse chest hair for the first time in my life. Is the Propecia causing these effects? — H.L., Gowanus, Brooklyn, NY

A: DHT causes male pattern baldness and stimulates the growth of body hair. The use of Finasteride, a DHT blocker, will permit scalp hair to grown and inhibit the growth of body hair, not stimulate it.

However, the effects on body hair are quite small, so your natural tendency to grow chest hair over time is probably not being blocked by the treatment.

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Hair Restoration Research

Dr. Christiano at Columbia University Identifies APCDD1, A Newly Discovered Gene Associated With Hair Loss

Dr. Angela Christiano of Columbia University in New York and a team of scientific researchers, have identified a new gene involved in hair growth. Their discovery may affect the direction of future research for hair loss and the diagnosis and ultimate prevention of male pattern baldness.

The condition, which leads to thinning hair, is called hereditary hypotrichosis simplex. Through the study of families in Pakistan and Italy who suffer from this condition, the team was able to identify a mutation of the APCDD1 gene located in chromosome 18. This chromosome has been linked to other causes of hair loss.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Is Genetic Test for Hair Loss Worthwhile?

Q: Is it worth getting the genetic test for balding?

A: You’re referring to Hair DX (hairdx.com), which costs about $150 and came to market in January of 2008 as the first test for androgenetic alopecia, aka male pattern baldness.

The test screens for variations in the androgen receptor gene on the X chromosome, the gene that is associated with male pattern hair loss. The purpose of the test is to identify persons at increased risk of developing hair loss before it is clinically apparent – so that medical intervention can be started early, when it is most effective.

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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

Dr. Bernstein Answers Questions On HairDX Genetic Test To Predict Hair Loss

The HairDX genetic test for hair loss offers information that can aid you and your doctor in making an informed decision about the treatment of your hair loss. It offers one more bit of information that, in the context of other data (such as hair loss pattern, scalp miniaturization and family history) can help guide you and your doctor to formulate an appropriate treatment plan. How does it work? How accurate is the test? How does the test compare to information obtained from a history and physical exam by your physician? Dr. Bernstein answers these questions and more on the HairDX genetic test for hair loss.

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Hair Restoration Research

Research Groups Explore Genetics Of Balding

We all have seen that some bald sons have bald fathers, even when no one on the mother’s side of the family has any hair loss. This suggests that the genetics of male pattern alopecia is more complicated, with multiple genes influencing hair growth. And it is likely that the inheritance of baldness is polygenetic, with relevant genes coming from both the x-chromosome of the mother and non-sex chromosomes of either parent. So where are the other genes?

Two independent research groups, one from England and the other Germany, both published in the journal Nature Genetics, have identified a gene locus p11 on chromosome 20 that seems to be correlated with male pattern hair loss, and since the gene is on a non-sex chromosome, it offers an explanation for why the inheritance of common baldness can be from either side of the family.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Which is the Preferred Treatment for a Young Patient: Hair Transplant or Medication?

Q: I am 25 year old who just started going bald. My doctor confirmed that I have pattern baldness and put me on Propecia and Rogaine. I don’t want to go bald at any age. So, instead of prolonging the process for 5-10 years and then having a HT, isn’t it easier to let the hair loss continue and then have a HT, so, that I can save the money on drugs for years. — Z.B., Greenwich, C.T.

A: It is far better to keep your own hair. Keeping your own hair will generally look fuller than a hair transplant, since a hair transplant just re-distributes existing hair (until hair cloning techniques are available).

The medications (i.e. finasteride and minoxidil) are relatively cheap if you get the generic forms.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Can Hair Loss Be Induced By Acne Medication Accutane?

Q: I have hair loss due to a treatment of Accutane. I have been off this medication for about a year and a half now, yet my hair has not recovered. The texture of my hair has completely changed. Given the fact that there is no family history linking me to male pattern baldness, I attribute my hair loss exclusively to Accutane. What should I do? — H.F., Eastchester, NY

A: If the texture alone has changed there is nothing you can do except to wait. The texture should improve over time even though it has already been 18 months.

If there are signs of genetic hair loss (i.e. male pattern alopecia), then finasteride should be considered.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Why is there a Different Consultation Fee for Diffuse Thinning versus Patterned Hair Loss?

Q: Why is the consult fee more for diffuse thinning than for a regular visit? — B.F., Altherton, CA

A: Diffuse hair loss, more common in women, can be the result of a number of underlying medical conditions and therefore it usually requires an extended medical evaluation.

If you are a male or female with obvious diffuse thinning from androgenetic alopecia (common baldness), or if you have patterned hair loss where the diagnosis is straightforward, the fee is less because an extensive evaluation is not required.

Please visit our Hair Transplant Costs & Consultation Fees page for more information.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Does Propecia Affect Beard Growth?

Q: I am a 21 yrs old male having serious hair loss over the last few years. I also have very little facial hair. Since Propecia is a DHT blocker can it inhibit beard growth? — E.M., Astoria, N.Y.

A: As you suggest, it would be reasonable to assume that since DHT stimulates beard growth, blocking DHT (with finasteride) would tend to inhibit its growth. In practice, this does not seem to be the case, i.e. we don’t find that Propecia has any effect on facial hair. The reason is not clear.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Can Hair Transplant Treat Diffuse Hair Loss in Women?

Q: My hair loss resembles the grade I female hair loss scale, but none of the male hair loss patterns. It has been relatively stable for the past five years and only recently has it begun to progress further. I began both Propecia and regain two months ago, but the hair loss still continues at the same pace. I’m really worried. Does a hair transplant work in such a diffuse hair loss? — D.D., Park Slope, Brooklyn

A: If your hair loss is diffuse only on top, then a hair transplant will be effective. This condition is called Diffuse Patterned Alopecia or DPA.

If the diffuse pattern of hair loss affects the back and sides as well, then surgical hair restoration should be avoided. In this case (called Diffuse Unpatterned Alopecia or DUPA) the donor area is not permanent and the transplanted hair will continue to thin over time.

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Hair Restoration Research

U.K. Invests in Hair Cloning Research

The British Government has awarded Intercytex a grant to automate the production of their new hair regeneration therapy. Intercytex is a cell therapy company that develops products to restore and regenerate skin and hair. Intercytex has partnered with a private company, The Automation Partnership (TAP), to develop an automated manufacturing process for their novel hair multiplication treatment.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Is Asymmetrical Hair Loss from Telogen Effluvium or Androgenetic Alopecia?

Q: Over the past three months, my hair seems to be thinning more on one side. Is it common in male pattern hair loss for it to be more on one side? I had a lot of stress about three months ago and have heard that this could be the cause. Is this possible? Should I use Rogaine to treat it? — B.R., Landover, MD

A: Regardless of the cause, hair loss is usually not perfectly symmetric. This applies to male pattern hair loss as well.

In your case, it is important to distinguish between telogen effluvium (shedding that can be due to stress) and hereditary or common baldness. The three month interval from the stressful period to the onset of hair loss is characteristic telogen effluvium, but you may have androgenetic alopecia as an underlying problem.

The two conditions are differentiated by identifying club hairs in telogen effluvium and miniaturized hair in androgenetic alopecia. In addition, a hair pull will be positive in telogen effluvium (when a clump of hair is grasped with the fingers, more than five hairs pull out of the scalp at one time) and will be negative in common baldness. The hair loss diagnosis can be made by a dermatologist.

Hair cuts do not affect either condition.

Rogaine (Minoxidil) is only effective in androgenetic hair loss and only marginally so. Finasteride is the preferred treatment if your hair loss is genetic when it is early and a hair transplant may be indicated if the hair loss progresses.

Shedding from telogen effluvium is reversible and does not require specific treatment.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Was Propecia Originally for Treatment of Prostate Enlargement?

Q: I heard that Propecia was being used originally for shrinking the prostate, is this true? — M.D., New Hyde Park, N.Y.

A: Propecia (finasteride 1mg) is not a prostate medication that was serendipitously noted to have a side effect of re-growing hair, it is a medication that was known all along that it might be able to slow hair loss and/or to grow hair.

Although finasteride was first approved for the treatment of prostate enlargement, the researchers at Merck knew, at the outset, that there were families whose members were deficient in the 5-alpha reductase Type II enzyme and that the men in these families neither developed prostate disease nor went bald. In addition they had no long-term problems from the lack of this enzyme.

Merck used this natural model to develop a medication that could block the 5-alpha reductase Type II enzyme – the result was finasteride. Because the only approved treatment for symptoms related to prostate enlargement at the time was surgery, Merck developed finasteride as a medical treatment for this condition prior to developing finasteride as a potential treatment for men with male pattern hair loss.

This also meant that Merck would understand the safety profile of finasteride, and have it approved for a medical disease (symptomatic prostate enlargement), before developing it for a cosmetic condition.

The drug was first submitted to the FDA for the treatment of prostate enlargement as Proscar (finasteride 5mg) in 1991 and it was approved for this use in 1992. The drug was submitted for the treatment of men with male pattern hair loss as Propecia (finasteride 1mg) in 1996 and was approved for this use in 1997.

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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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Bernstein Medical In The News

NPR Interviews Dr. Bernstein on Hair Transplantation and Hair Loss

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.”

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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 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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Bernstein Medical In The News

Dr. Bernstein Talks Hair Transplant Repair On ‘Good Morning America’

“Good Morning America” interviewed Dr. Bernstein in their two-part series on hair transplant surgery. Below is an excerpt from the interview:

Charles Gibson: Are there good candidates and bad candidates for this?
Dr. Bernstein: Yes. And actually people that wear hairpieces are sometimes tricky because their baseline is a full head of hair, so one of the important things that we had to discuss in the first consult was what his expectations were and whether he realized that a transplant wouldn’t give him the fullness of a hairpiece, but of course, it would look much more natural.

Watch the full interview.

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