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Drug Trial To End Bad Hair Days For Bald Women

08.12.2008 in HAIR LOSS SCIENCE

For men coping with baldness, the solution can be as simple as shaving their head. But for women the effects can be devastating. Losing their hair often means a loss of femininity and sense of self-esteem. With rates of anxiety and depression high among sufferers, some even resort to tattooing their heads to hide thinning patches on their scalps.

But a world-first trial at a Melbourne hospital is offering hope to the estimated 700,000 Australian women affected by severe hair loss.

Doctors at St Vincent’s aim to prove that a drug used to reduce excessive facial and body hair can stop hair loss on the scalp of women, as well as stimulate partial hair growth in up to a third of sufferers.

They hope that this evidence will encourage doctors — many of whom tell women there is no treatment for hair loss — to prescribe the tablets more widely.

Eventually the plan is to develop the drug in an implant form, which would allow women to receive treatment for up to three years at a time without the need for a daily tablet. A patch like those used by smokers trying to kick the habit would also be trialled.

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Saw Palmetto Keeps Prostates Healthy and Helps Prevent Baldness

26.11.2008 in HAIR LOSS SCIENCE

(NaturalNews) Saw palmetto may be a man’s best friend. It’s the primary herb helping men maintain prostate health that’s very popular throughout Europe for its ability to relieve symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), otherwise known as enlargement of the prostate. In the U.S. where pharmaceuticals are the standard of care for prostate problems, saw palmetto is gaining popularity following several recent studies showing it provides relief from short-term urinary symptoms and other symptoms of BPH, as well as relief from inflammation of the prostate and cell proliferation. It also promotes hair growth in men with thinning hair or baldness. It provides these benefits safely, naturally and with no noted side effects.


Saw palmetto, botanically known as Serenoa repens or as sabal palm in Europe, is a magnificent palm tree that grows naturally in Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. The therapeutic compound comes from the berries of the plant. Historical use of the herb can be traced in the Americas to the Mayans who used it as a tonic and to the Seminoles who took it as an expectorant and antiseptic.

Saw Palmetto prevents conversion of testosterone to DHT

The herb possesses several mechanisms of action, with the primary action relating to prostate health being its ability to inhibit the 5-alpha reductase enzyme which converts testosterone, the male sex hormone, to a more potent metabolite, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). In addition, it blocks receptor sites on cell membranes required for cells to absorb DHT. An excess of DHT is believed one of the primary causes of prostate problems as well as the cause of male baldness.

Recent research documents the health benefits of saw palmetto

In a study reported in the Journal of Urology, men with BPH obtained significant short-term symptom relief with saw palmetto. Ninety-two men between the ages of 49 and 75 with lower urinary tract symptoms were divided into two groups, one treated with two soft gels of saw palmetto, and the other treated with a placebo. Both groups were treated for a twelve week period. Maximum urinary flow was significantly higher in the treatment group compared to the placebo group, and urinary resistance was significantly lower. Yet mean prostate volume was comparable in the two groups.

The American Family Physician journal reported a diagnosic and management review of BHP. They found that through its ability to inhibit 5-alpha reductase, saw palmetto as well as rye grass pollen extract, and pygeum relieved symptoms such as urinary hesitancy, weak stream, nocturia, incontinence, and recurrent urinary tract infections.

A review of literature published in Archivio Italiano di Andrologia found that saw palmetto, lycopene and selenium, the three most widely used compounds in treatment of the prostate, have a common feature which may be a dual activity on proliferative disorders as well as on inflammatory conditions at the level of the prostate gland.

A study reported in Anticancer Research investigated the effect of an extract of saw palmetto on hormone sensitive and insensitive prostate and breast cancer cells, and urinary bladder, colon and lung cancer cells in order to assess its growth inhibitory abilities. They found that saw palmetto extract induced a dose-dependent anti-proliferative effect on all the human malignant cells tested.

Saw Palmetto reduces male pattern hair loss

Male hair loss can often be attributed to the conversion of testosterone to DHT promoted by the 5-alpha reductase enzyme. DHT causes hair thinning by shrinking the follicles in the scalp, which results over a period of time in the follicles being far too small for hair to grow, resulting in baldness.

The link between DHT and hair loss has been well established, with numerous clinical studies and surveys concluding that this hormone can be directly linked as a cause of as many as 95% of all cases of hair loss. The studies have shown that this condition is genetically linked, with excessive production of DHT being passed from generation to generation. It is this condition that is targeted by pharmaceutical products such as propecia (finasteride), and rogaine (minoxidil).


While the testosterone to DHT conversion creates hair loss on the head, it also promotes the growth of hair in places where it is not wanted. By preventing this hormonal conversion, saw palmetto is showing in research to be effective in the treatment of male hair loss. It is able to get the hair off men’s backs and back on their heads. Some studies have shown it to be as effective as Propecia and Rogaine. This aspect of saw palmetto was discovered by people using it for prostate issues who started reporting the regrowth of hair on their heads.

Shampoos and lotions containing saw palmetto are available at health food stores and on line. Saw Palmetto is available as a supplement. The dosage amount for men is 300 to 500 mg. per day. Saw palmetto has been shown in research to be non-toxic and safe for extended use.

Saw Palmetto is not the only herb able to influence prostate health

Several other herbs and plant compounds are potentially useful in maintaining prostate health, including pygeum, nettle, beta sitosterol, and carotenoids such as lycopene. Health of the prostate gland is heavily influenced by the overall health of the body. It’s hard to find a sick prostate gland in a body otherwise possessing excellent health. Following the basics for general health will go along way in promoting prostate health.

Pygeum is an African plum tree found in tropical Africa. An extract from the bark of pygeum has been used in Europe as a prevention and treatment of prostate disorders including BPH. More recently in the U.S. pygeum has been marketed along side saw palmetto for prostate health and cancer prevention and treatment.

An interesting study reported in Endocrine tested the anti-cancer potential of pygeum in vitro and in vivo. In tissue culture, pygeum extract inhibited the growth of cancerous cells, induced appropriate programmed cell death and altered cell kinetics, down regulated ER-alpha and PKC-alpha protein, and demonstrated the ability to bind with estrogen and androgen receptors. Mice fed with pygeum showed a significant reduction in prostate cancer incidence of 35% compared to controls. Researchers concluded pygeum is a useful supplement for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer.

Do you have Hair Loss Problems, read our Hair Loss Help


“Saw Palmetto”, Mayo Clinic Tools for Healthier Lives.

“Saw Palmetto Can Prevent Hair Loss?” All About Your Body and Spirit.

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DNA Hair Loss Test For Women


For many men, it’s considered part of normal aging, but for the 25% of women who suffer from female pattern baldness, losing hair can be like losing their identity.

Now, a new test may help women take action before their hair thins.

When Danielle Ducharme was in her late teens, she started to notice there was a lot less of her beautiful locks.

She noted, “It was always curly and thick, and always a lot of it.”

Now at 25, she wonders how long until she goes bald?

She said, “It’s horrifying. I go to bed at night sometimes thinking, you know, crying myself to sleep, you know. Imagine having to wear wigs for the rest of your life.”

A new DNA test called “Hair DX” can help women like Danielle learn about their hair, through their genes.

Danielle added, “I just want to know how much worse it’s gonna get.”

The test is just a simple swab on both cheeks.

Three weeks later, the results will let a person know if they are at risk of significant hair loss before the age of 40.

Dr. Robert Leonard said of the test, “The biggest benefit of this genetic test is that we can predict something into the future. So if we know that a person will be losing her hair we can treat it early to stop further progression.”

Dr. Leonard also says a person generally doesn’t notice she’s losing her hair until 50% has already fallen out.

He added, “So, if we catch this before they really notice too much thinning, we can treat it early, keep the hair on their head and not have to worry about it so much.”

Danielle hopes others take advantage of this test, helping women hold onto their hair and in some cases, their self-esteem.

There are several FDA approved drugs for preserving existing hair, but nothing for re-growing lost hair.

The cost of the DNA test is about $150. A similar test is available for men.

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No, it's not a pigment of your imagination: Breakthrough drug can restore white hair to its original colour.

20.11.2008 in HAIR LOSS SCIENCE

In a discovery that could brighten up the lives of millions, scientists have created a drug that restores white hair to its natural colour. They hope the drug, converted into a shampoo, could eventually be used as an alternative to dyes to hide greying locks. The drug was found to trigger the production of pigmentation in hair samples tested in a lab.

Miracle cure: Scientists are working on a drug which reverts hair to its original colour

These pigments restored the hair to its original colour, from the white or grey it had become. This took place no matter what the hair colour was to begin with. The drug, known only as K(D)PT, increased pigmentation when it was applied to hairs gleaned from women undergoing facelifts. However, it was effective only when the strands had been pre-treated to mimic the damage found in conditions that cause hair loss, including some forms of alopecia. In such conditions, hair that grows back is often white.

Researcher Dr Ralf Paus, of the Manchester University and the University of Lubeck in Germany, said the drug ‘deserved to be explored as an innovative new anti-greying agent’.

Writing in the British Journal of Dermatology, he added: ‘Specifically, topical application of K(D)PT may become exploitable for the treatment of post-inflammatory hair whitening that is often seen during the recovery phase of alopecia areata.’

Nina Goad, of the British Association for Dermatologists, described the study as ‘an important step’.

She added: ‘It is important to note this is laboratory research and not yet ready for use on patients.
‘However, while the research is still at a very early stage, these findings could potentially pave the way for new therapies that restore colour to white hair.’

Back to his roots?: Using the new drug, TV presenter Phillip Schofield could turn his white hair back to dark brown

The researchers believe there is also ‘a reasonable possibility’ that hair turned grey by ageing would also respond.

The preliminary nature of the work means it is not possible to say if the drug would fully restore hair to its natural colour, although this could well be the case.

It is likely the treatment, which would have to be reapplied regularly, would work for men and women.

The synthetic hormone in the drug could only be used on lab hair samples. It is not yet ready to be applied directly to a patient’s head.

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More Hair Loss Genes Identified

06.11.2008 in HAIR LOSS SCIENCE

Research projects for male pattern baldness have been increasing recently and they all seem to be focusing on locating genetic triggers which initiate the world’s most common type of baldness in men. Just recently the Universities of Bonn and Dusseldorf identified a group of seven gene variants all of which are directly linked to male pattern baldness. 

Finding the genes that trigger male pattern baldness not only opens up avenues of research in order to find remedies to stop the triggers from activating but also opens up the possibility of testing to see whether you have these genes at an early age, and therefore letting you know whether you will suffer from male pattern baldness in the future.

The researchers are finding that it is not just one simple gene that causes male pattern baldness but a number of interacting genetic triggers which increase the chances of the condition appearing. The process is extremely complicated and it will be many years, (if they do manage) before scientists will be able to develop something to prevent the genetic onset of male pattern baldness in men.

The researchers also noted that this research could be used to help people who suffer from deafness. The reason being is that the majority of hearing loss is due to the fact that mammals are unable to replace hair cells that have become damaged and which are essential for good hearing.

The only hair loss medication to have an effect on male pattern baldness at the genetic level is the drug Propecia made by the pharmaceutical company Merck.  Propecia works by preventing the build up of the compound of Dihydrotestosterone which occurs in the scalp in some men. The Dihydrotestosterone compound is a perfectly normal thing for men to have however it does cause male pattern baldness which is so distressing to some men.

Propecia is statistically the most effective drug to treat male pattern baldness in the world at present and is used by over 4 million men worldwide.

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