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Hormone levels correlated with androgenic alopecia



Men with androgenic alopecia typically have lower levels of total testosterone, higher levels of unbound/free testosterone, and higher levels of total free androgens including DHT.

5-alpha-reductase is responsible for converting free testosterone into DHT. The genes for 5-alpha-reductase are known. The enzymes are present predominantly in the scalp and prostate. Levels of 5alpha-reductase are one factor in determining levels of DHT in the scalp and drugs which interfere with 5alpha-reductase (such as finasteride, which inhibits the predominant type 2 isoform) have been approved by the FDA as treatments for hair loss.

Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which is responsible for binding testosterone and preventing its bioavailability and conversion to DHT, is typically lower in individuals with high DHT. SHBG is downregulated by insulin.

Increased levels of Insulin Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) have been correlated to vertex balding.

High insulin levels seem the likely link between metabolic syndrome and baldness. Low levels of SHBG in men and non-pregnant women are also correlated with glucose intolerance and diabetes risk, though this correlation disappears during pregnancy.

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Hair loss and genetics


Much research has gone into the genetic component of male pattern baldness, or androgenic alopecia (AGA). Research indicates that susceptibility to premature male pattern baldness is largely X-linked. Other genes that aren’t sex linked are also involved.


Large studies in 2005 and 2007 stress the importance of the maternal line in the inheritance of male pattern baldness. German researchers name the androgen receptor gene as the cardinal prerequisite for balding. They conclude that a certain variant of the androgen receptor is needed for AGA to develop. In the same year the results of this study were confirmed by other researchers. This gene is recessive and a female would need two X chromosomes with the defect to show typical male pattern alopecia. Seeing that androgens and their interaction with the androgen receptor are the cause of AGA it seems logical that the androgen receptor gene plays an important part in its development.

Other research in 2007 suggests another gene on the X chromosome, that lies close to the androgen receptor gene, is an important gene in male pattern baldness. They found the region Xq11-q12 on the X-chromosome to be strongly associated with AGA in males. They point at the EDA2R gene as the gene that is mostly associated with AGA.

Other genes involved with hair loss have been found. One of them being a gene on chromosome 3. The gene is located at 3q26. This gene is recessive.

Another gene that might be involved in hair loss is the P2RY5. This gene is linked to hair structure. Certain variants can lead to baldness at birth, while another variant causes “wooly hair.”


In May 2009, researchers in Japan identified a gene, Sox21, that appears to be responsible for hair loss in people.


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Can Lasers Stimulate a Hair-Growth Spurt?

29.09.2009 in HAIR LOSS SCIENCE

Losing your hair? Just glide a handheld laser over your scalp three times a week and you’ll see a benefit, say the companies selling the products. Many doctors are skeptical of claims made for the lasers, but a study found that one product did spur hair growth.

Hereditary hair loss is a medical condition that affects some 50 million American men, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Medications, including the oral drug Propecia and the topical Rogaine, are often used to treat it. But the drugs don’t work for everyone and can have side effects, according to dermatologists.

A number of companies sell handheld, low-intensity lasers for home use that are intended to stimulate hair follicles, typically three times a week for 10 to 15 minutes. The lasers, which aren’t covered by insurance, are available online, at some doctors offices and at some retailers. The HairMax LaserComb by Lexington International LLC, Boca Raton, Fla.—which looks like a hairbrush with a cord—costs $495, with a $25 discount available online. The X-5 is a $299 rechargeable hockey-puck-shaped device sold by Spencer Forrest Inc., Westport, Conn.


Scientists say that low-level lasers are safe and likely do act on cellular compounds that can spur hair growth. One major published study showed an average 7% increase in hair density with the HairMax after 26 weeks. But many doctors are skeptical of the claims made by the companies, particularly those that promise fast results and show clients with full heads of hair. “I think it is an expensive tool for very little difference,” says Amy McMichael, an associate professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Eric S. Schweiger, a clinical instructor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, says the LaserComb helps grow hair, but adds that effects are often modest, typically take at least six months and aren’t seen in all patients.

It’s best to try the laser before your hair follicles are too damaged, doctors say. “If you’ve got a shiny bald head it won’t do anything,” says Michael Hamblin, associate professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School.

The only home laser device cleared for hair growth by the Food and Drug Administration is the LaserComb, which claims to increase hair growth in men. While used by Dr. Schweiger and others for women, the device isn’t FDA cleared for them; a clinical trial is continuing, the company says.

Other companies that don’t have FDA clearance for their devices avoid making medical claims. Spencer Forrest claims the X-5 makes hair “visibly thicker,” but doesn’t promise to actually grow it. The company says it is performing trials and plans to apply for FDA clearance.

So far, Lexington International is the only company with a major published clinical study. In a 110-patient company-funded study published in the April issue of “Clinical Drug Investigation,” researchers found subjects using the LaserComb for 26 weeks saw an average increase of 17 hairs per square centimeter, or 7%, compared with a decrease of nine hairs in a control group using a sham device. Independent trials are needed to replicate the results, says Marc R. Avram, an associate professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York. A small pilot study at Weill failed to replicate the findings but larger, controlled studies are needed, he adds.

In May 2008, Lexington received an FDA warning letter alleging it was selling a different device than the one cleared for sale in 2007. Company owner David Michaels says the company did substitute a similar laser with an equivalent output and thought the change was permissible based on “legal advice,” but switched back to the original when it got the warning letter. The FDA says the issues from the warning letter, which included marketing to women on the company’s Web site, have been resolved.

So far the only side effects reported with the lasers have been itching and tingling of the scalp.

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Hair loss attributed to vitamin A

24.09.2009 in HAIR LOSS SCIENCE

Question: I found out recently that the hair loss I’ve been experiencing during the past couple of years was directly attributable to vitamin A. I was taking 25,000 IU a day of vitamin A in my daily vitamin pill. Apparently that is toxic and causes hair loss. I just wanted to warn others.

Answer: Too much vitamin A can cause hair loss, along with loss of appetite, skin problems, headache, fatigue and many other problems. The usual recommended intake is 5,000 IU daily for adults, so you were definitely getting far too much.

Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition.

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Gene Test For Hair Loss

17.09.2009 in HAIR LOSS SCIENCE

HAIR LOSS FACTS: For many people, hair loss is simply an inevitable part of life. Alan Bauman, M.D., a board-certified hair restoration specialist in Boca Raton, Fla., says about 100 million people in the United States have hair loss 60 million men and 40 million women.

By age 35, 40 percent of men have noticeable hair loss and 65 percent have noticeable hair loss by age 60. Dr. Bauman says for both men and women, hair thinning is not usually noticed until 50 percent of a person’s hair has already fallen out.

Americans spend more than $1 billion a year on treatments for hair loss.

IS “BALD” IN YOUR FUTURE? HairDX, a biotech company, has launched the first genetic hair loss test for men and women to let them know if they are at high risk for future hair loss.

“This is exciting because it’s the first lab test for hair loss,”said Dr. Bauman. “You can take the test in your teenage years and find out what your percentage of going bald will be by the time you are 40.”

The test determines your fate by measuring DNA obtained from a cheek swab. The swab is mailed off to the company to be analyzed. A high risk result means the person has a 60 percent chance severe baldness by age 40. A low risk result means a person has an 80 percent chance of having a healthy head of hair by age 60.

The test measures DNA on the X chromosome, which is inherited by the mother. One of the genes that researchers know is linked to hair loss is the androgen receptor, which is found on the X chromosome. Dr. Bauman says there are probably many factors and genes from both sides of the family that are involved with hair loss, but the androgen receptor gene is a great place to start.

THE BENEFIT OF KNOWING: Dr. Bauman said, “Hair loss is certainly today, optional … meaning that you can choose not to have hair loss if you undergo therapy and treatment. Many people in the general public don’t really know that treatments exist — effective treatments.”

Hair loss treatments that experts say work: 1) Finasteride (also known as Propecia) — a daily medication that works in nine out of 10 men. Five out of six men will keep the hair they have when started on the medication and two out of three will re-grow some hair they have lost. Dr. Bauman says, “If you are a man and you have risk of hair loss and you go on Propecia today, you have a 90 percent chance in five years to look the same or better than you do right now.”

2) Minoxidil (also known as Rogaine) — a topical liquid for the scalp that stimulates hair follicles to grow thicker and stronger. Dr. Bauman says about 60 to 70 percent of people get a response from Minoxidil.

3) Low level laser therapy — creates a photochemical condition in the scalp to create more energy for the follicles to grow a better quality hair. It’s been shown to improve hair quality, thickness and density.

4) Hair restoration surgery — this can work, but be sure you’re getting it from a board-certified hair restoration specialist.

5) Nutritional modification — protein is a building block for hair, so a diet deficient in protein can cause hair loss. Eating enough could slow it down.

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