Category: Hair Loss Research

New Hair Loss Gene Discovered: APCDD1

New Hair Loss Gene Discovered- APCDD1Scientists have identified a new gene that may help future hair transplant surgeons provide non-hormonal treatments for hair loss. The discovery is a culmination of efforts from research teams across America, including those from Columbia University, Rockefeller University, and Stanford. Researchers have named the gene adenomatosis polyposis down-regulated 1, or APCDD1.

The discovery of the APCDD1 gene is important to researchers, surgeons, and individuals who suffer with a variety of hair loss conditions. The gene seems to play a role in the progressive hair loss experienced by individuals with hereditary hypotrichosis simplex, a rare condition that may manifest itself in the early years of childhood.

Commenting on the study, lead author Angela M. Christiano, Ph.D. explains:

Through their analysis the research team found a common mutation in the APCDD1 gene that is located on a specific region of chromosome 18. Previous studies have shown chromosome 18 to be involved in other forms of hair loss including alopecia areata and androgenetic alopecia. (i)

Dr. Christiano is a professor of dermatology, as well as genetics and development, at the Columbia University Medical Center. For additional information, readers may visit Dr. Christiano’s faculty page on Columbia.edu.

Although the gene seems to play a causal role in a very different type of hair loss, researchers believe studying the APCDD1 gene may eventually aid in the treatment of male and female pattern baldness, as well as other types of hair loss. This is due to the fact that APCDD1 causes hair loss through a process called hair miniaturization, which is the same process through which male pattern baldness progresses.

APCDD1, Hair Miniaturization, and Hair Loss Treatment

To understand the concept of hair miniaturization, it is helpful to first understand how hair grows. Throughout our lifetime, hair grows from follicles located just below the skin. Follicles are the foundation through which hair receives the support, oxygen, and nutrients to grow. Hair grows in three distinct cycles: The growth phase, the shedding phase, and the resting phase. Hair loss professionals may refer to each of these stages as the anagen phase, catagen phase, and telogen phase, respectively. It is estimated that each strand of hair goes through a full cycle of growing, shedding, resting, and re-growing about 10-20 times over the course of a person’s lifetime.

Hair miniaturization is a phenomenon in which hair becomes thinner and finer each time it progresses through the growth cycle described above. Eventually, the hair follicle may even become dormant, in which case new hair growth will cease entirely.

In this study, researchers found that the gene APCDD1 inhibits a specific signaling pathway through which hair growth is directed. Researchers refer to the pathway as Wnt, and it is believed that inhibiting this signaling process may prevent hair miniaturization and pattern baldness from developing. Moreover, Dr. Christiano believes the discovery could make advanced hair loss treatment a reality for a much broader number of individuals:

Unlike commonly available treatments for hair loss that involve blocking hormonal pathways, treatments involving the Wnt pathway would be non-hormonal, which may enable many more people suffering from hair loss to receive such therapies. (ii)

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Sources for this report include:

(i) Scientists Identify New Hair Loss Gene – APCDD1. Blog.americanhairloss.org. Accessed January 8, 2013.

(ii) See above.

A Decade in Review: Exciting Achievements in Hair Loss Research

A Decade in Review- Exciting Achievements in Hair Loss ResearchThe past decade has seen a number of exciting discoveries that have led to a fuller and richer understanding of hair loss. And while the availability of a hair loss cure is still many years away, physicians and patients alike are excited with these recent achievements in the study of hair growth, loss, and replacement.

Certainly, there are far too many hypotheses, studies, and research initiatives to list in a single health report. Even greater are the number of studies that are currently underway, the outcomes of which will remain largely unknown until each study is concluded, analyzed, re-tested, and published.  Nevertheless, we would like to take a moment to highlight a few of the decade’s most exciting achievements in hair loss research.

We invite our readers to browse the studies below and follow the Read More link for the original full-coverage reports, previously published on the Miami Hair Blog.

Vitamin D and Hair Growth

The first researcher to theorize about vitamin D’s role in promoting normal hair growth was Mark Haussler, a University of Arizona College of Medicine professor. In 1969, Mr. Haussler explained that the vitamin D receptor in hair follicles is “crucial for the generation of hair,” (i).

Nearly 3 decades later, American culture was swept by a catchy advertising campaign that spread awareness for vitamin D, calcium, and osteoporosis prevention. With the help of A-list celebrity endorsements and clever advertising language, the Got Milk? campaign successfully penetrated the minds of America’s youth, reminding them that milk is a fundamental part of healthy bone development.

Unfortunately, the link between hair health and vitamin D was never part of the advertising campaign and received little notice from mainstream media. Until now.

Read More: Researchers Find Vitamin D May Stimulate Hair Growth.

Hair Loss and Heart Disease

The idea that body health is holistic in nature is nothing new. Anyone who has experienced a common cold shortly after a time of great stress is well attuned to the concept that mental, emotion, and physical health are interrelated. The aforementioned example illustrates how emotional health can affect physical health, as stress (an emotional state) may lead to the breakdown and impairment of the immune system (a physical system), resulting in a cold.

In this way, health professionals believe that a specific illness may manifest itself in a number of different ways. Most recently, researchers have found that hair loss could be an outward-sign of serious cardiovascular issues.

Read More: Is Hair Loss a Sign of Heart Disease?

Treatment for Individuals with Alopecia Areata is ‘Favorable’

In Japan, researchers at the Tokyo Medical University have released new research indicating that individuals with alopecia areata have a ‘favorable’ prognosis across a variety of different treatment options. Researchers evaluated 1,030 patients for a 3-year period, taking note of the severity, improvement, and cure rate of the hair loss. At the end of the study, the research team found that patients who exhibited regeneration of vellus hairs also showed a significantly higher improvement in the reversal of general alopecia areata symptoms.

According to lead-researcher Dr. Masaki Uchiyama, M.D., the study provides strong evidence that the course of treatment for the patients did not have a “statistically significant influence” on the regeneration of their body hair (ii).

Read More: Treatment for Individuals with Alopecia Areata is Promising.

Connect with the Hair Transplant Institute

Follow Miami_Hair on Twitter or Like Our Facebook Page to keep up-to-date with the latest hair loss news, research, and health guides!

Sources for this hair loss research report include:

(i) Wang, Shirley S. “The Search for a Baldness Cure.” 12 September 2012.

(ii) “Rapidly Progressive Alopecia Shows Favorable Prognosis.” Published on Medicalxpress.com. Accessed November 26th, 2012.

Treatment for Individuals with Alopecia Areata is Promising

Treatment for Individuals with Alopecia Areata is PromisingResearchers in Tokyo have just recently reported that patients who suffer with alopecia areata (AA), a specific type of hair loss, show a “favorable prognosis” when it comes to hair regeneration. The new study was conducted at Tokyo Medical University and was recently published online via the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in late September of this year.

Dr. Masaki Uchiyama, M.D., led the Japanese research team at Tokyo Medical University as they surveyed 1,030 alopecia areata patients over the course of 3 years. During that time, researchers evaluated the improvement or cure rate of the participants as they engaged in different hair loss treatments for alopecia areata symptoms. Specifically, researchers noted the following:

1. Severity: The degree to which hair loss affected the body was measured, including the number of affected areas as well as their size and proximal location on the body.

2. Treatment: The method of treatment was noted for each patient, giving researchers a cross-section of different treatment modalities to analyze.

3. Improvement: During the 3-year period, researchers assessed the regrowth of body hair for each participant, specifically by noting the regeneration of vellus hairs.

4. Cure Rate: Instances in which symptoms of alopecia areata were “cured” were also recorded.

As the study drew to a close, Dr. Uchiyama’s team found that patients who exhibited regeneration of vellus hairs also showed a significantly higher improvement in the reversal of alopecia areata symptoms. In general, these improvements meant hair regeneration. In some cases, however, improvements translated to the complete reversely of hair loss.

Most noteworthy, however, is the following: The rate of improvement (or cure) was affected by neither the chosen treatment method nor the severity of the patient’s unique condition.

“Our study suggested that there was no statistically significant influence of the initial treatment modalities on the prognosis of AA patients with severe hair loss, including both RPAA and chronic persistent AA,” Dr. Uchiyama and his research team concluded (i).

Understanding Alopecia Areata

To learn more about alopecia areata, readers are invited to review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guide below:

1. What is alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata is a unique type of hair loss characterized by rounded patches of concentrated baldness. These patches may occur on the scalp as well as other parts of the body. Concentrated areas of hair loss may occur simultaneously, affecting different parts of the body at the same time.

2. What are the symptoms of alopecia areata?

Symptoms for alopecia areata may differ from patient to patient, however they generally include:

  • Small, rounded bald patches on the scalp or other areas of the body.
  • Exposed skin is typically ‘normal’ in appearance, exhibiting no sign of scarring, discoloration, agitation, or irritation.
  • Hair loss may occur at different areas, at different times.
  • Hair regrowth may occur at different areas, at different times.
  • Hairs exhibit an “exclamation” shape, meaning they get narrower towards the base (scalp).
  • Tingling/ pain may be experienced at the affected area.
  • Condition may go into ‘remission’ for a period of time, during which symptoms are not noticeable.

3. What are the causes of alopecia areata?

Researchers are still studying alopecia areate to better understand the root causes of the condition. Though research is still ongoing, it appears that the condition may be caused by two main factors:

  • Heredity: Often times, alopecia areata is more common for individuals whose family members experience symptoms as well. This has led researchers to suggest the condition may be inherited genetically.
  • Autoimmune disease: Researchers also believe that the underlying cause of alopecia areata may be an autoimmune disease. In this scenario, the individual’s own immune system, specifically the T cells, attack the hair follicles and suppress growth.

4. How is alopecia areata diagnosed?

Alopecia areata is best diagnosed by a licensed dermatologist or skilled hair transplant surgeon. Typically, a simple and painless hair loss evaluation will diagnose the condition while also mapping the proper course of treatment.

Sources for this report include:

(i) “Rapidly Progressive Alopecia Shows Favorable Prognosis.” Published on Medicalxpress.com. Accessed November 26th, 2012.

Hairlines and Heart Health: Is Hair Loss a Sign of Heart Disease?

Hairlines and Heart Health- Is Hair Loss a Sign of Heart Disease?Physicians now warn patients to be increasingly wary of the signs of aging. The notion that people “look old because they’re getting old” is misguided, and a new study conducted by the University of Copenhagen in Denmark has found several ties between visible signs of aging and heart disease.

The new findings were presented to more than 17,000 health professionals at Scientific Sessions 2012, the American Heart Association’s largest gathering of scientists and healthcare professionals devoted to the study of cardiovascular health. Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen, senior study author for the University’s research initiative, warns that the study “shows that aging signs may mark poor cardiovascular health and therefore validates the prognostic importance of a very simple clinical exam,” (i).

According to the study, the following signs were most strongly correlated with increased risk of heart attack and heart disease:

  • Earlobe creases
  • Yellow fat deposits around the eyelids
  • Hairline recession near the temples
  • Thinning or balding hair at the crown of the head

The study also indicated that individuals with at least 3 out of the 4 signs above were at the greatest risk. Of those studied, participants who exhibited at least 3 of the above signs of aging had a 57 percent greater risk of suffering from a heart attack. Moreover, risk of heart disease was 39 percent greater for individuals with at least 3 of the above characteristics.

More Details on This Study

  • Total Number of Participants: 10,885
  • Participants’ Age & Gender: Both men and women, ages 40 and over
  • 7,537 participants had a receding hairline at the onset of the study.
  • 3,938 participants exhibited thin / bald areas at the crown of the head at the onset of the study.
  • 3,405 showed crease in the earlobes.
  • 678 had xanthelasmata, or fatty deposits surrounding the eyelids, often yellow in color.

Not surprisingly, over 30% of the individuals who participated in the study exhibited earlobe creases, a trait that has long been correlated with increased risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease (ii). It is important to note, however, that creases in the earlobes have never been labeled a cause for heart issues. Creases are more common among older men and women who may suffer with heart disease, along with many other illnesses, for a variety of different reasons.

What did surprise researchers, however, was the vast population of participants who exhibited signs of hair loss. With 7,537 showing signs of hairline recession and 3,938 showing thinning or balding at the crown of the head, the prevalence of hair loss among those with a greater risk of developing a heart condition is striking. Like the correlation between earlobe creases and heart disease, however, there is no substantial evidence to show that hair loss causes heart disease. Demonstrating causation between hair loss and heart health, according to Ms. Tybjaerg-Hansen, will require additional follow-up studies.

Hair Transplant Institute of Miami: Home to South Florida’s Top Hair Surgeons

This health report has been produced by the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami. For additional information on our Institute, including hair loss evaluation and consultation services, please contact our office directly at 1-877-443-9070.

Sources for this article include:

(i) Ostrow, Nicole. Receding Hairline Among the Signs of Heart Disease Risk. Accessed November 10, 2012.

(ii) Medline Plus. Earlobe Creases. Accessed November 10th, 2012.

Exclusive: Researchers Find Vitamin D May Stimulate Hair Growth

Exclusive- Researchers Find Vitamin D May Stimulate Hair GrowthIn an effort to find a cure for baldness, research teams from around the world are investigating ways to reawaken dormant hair follicles. These tiny bulb-shaped structures are located just beneath the surface of the skin (pictured left), and they supply growing hair with blood, oxygen, and other life-sustaining nutrients. When hair follicles become traumatized, damaged, or otherwise inactive, the growth of new hair stops and pattern baldness begins. In this way, an individual’s head of hair (quite literally) lives and dies by the health of the follicles beneath the skin. New research suggests that vitamin D, along with the receptors in the skin that bind to the nutrient, may play a significant role in promoting healthy follicles and hair growth.

Got Milk? Researchers Say Vitamin D is “Crucial for the regeneration of hair”

Thanks in part to wildly successful 1995 “Got Milk?” advertising campaign by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, we all know that the calcium and vitamin D in milk help develop strong bones and prevent osteoporosis. The health benefits of vitamin D were studied long before that campaign, but traditional research focused primarily on vitamin D and bone development.

Now, however, new research shows vitamin D may be “crucial for the regeneration of hair,” (i). Hair transplant surgeons have also credited the receptors for vitamin D—the tiny “keyholes” in which the vitamin “keys” fit when being utilized by the body—as critical in promoting healthy hair follicle function.

Researchers report that creating a vitamin D supplement to prevent hair loss is tricky, however. For one, too much vitamin D may cause calcium accumulation in the blood. In turn, calcium accumulation may cause weakness or problems with the kidneys. For this reason, researchers are “really aiming to manipulate vitamin D or vitamin D receptors only in the skin,” explains Dr. Oda of the VA Medical Center in San Francisco. This would help individuals better utilize the vitamin D in their system, rather than introduce more vitamin D at the risk of developing other health issues.

And while a vitamin D supplement that cures baldness may seem futuristic and fanciful, there are technologies available today that are designed to promote natural hair growth by stimulating hair follicles.

Enter: Low level laser therapy (LLLT) for hair.

Promoting Follicle Health and Hair Growth with LLLT

LLLT stands for low level laser treatment, and it is a relatively new and exciting technology for the medical world. LLLT uses safe, FDA certified lasers to stimulate cellular respiration by way of phototherapy. In turn, this increases the cell’s ability to produce energy. But how do laser-light exposure, enhanced cellular respiration, and increased energy production help to reverse hair loss?

According to new research, an improvement in cellular respiration leads a series of biochemical reactions that stimulate the delivery of oxygen and nutrients directly to the hair follicle (vi). Most important is the ability of the patient to receive comprehensive LLLT exposure on a regular basis—usually 3 times per week for about 20 minutes per session.

The Hair Transplant Institute of Miami is pleased to offer the LaserCap™ LLLT device for thinning hair. To learn more about LLLT for thinning hair, please join Dr. Nusbaum as he explains the effectiveness of the treatment and the LaserCap™ device in the video below:

Learn More About the LaserCap™

To learn more about hair restoration or low level laser hair therapy with the LaserCap™, please schedule an appointment with the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami.  Readers are also invited to call our front desk at 305.925.0222 to speak directly with a friendly member of our office.

At the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami, we understand that hair loss can impact your personal, social, and professional life.  We’re committed to making a difference in the lives and well-being of our patients, and we look forward to exceeding your expectations with only the best technologies and most effective procedures.

 

Sources for this article include:

(i) Wang, Shirley S. “The Search for a Baldness Cure.” 12 September 2012.

(ii) Brosseau, L.; Welch, V.; Wells, G. A.; De Bie, R.; Gam, A.; Harman, K.; Morin, M.; Shea, B. et al. (2005). Brosseau, Lucie. ed. “Low level laser therapy (Classes I, II and III) for treating rheumatoid arthritis”. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4): CD002049. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD002049.pub2. PMID 16235295.

(iii) Jamtvedt, G.; Dahm, K. T.; Christie, A.; Moe, R. H.; Haavardsholm, E.; Holm, I.; Hagen, K. B. (2007). “Physical Therapy Interventions for Patients with Osteoarthritis of the Knee: an Overview of Systematic Reviews”. Physical Therapy 88 (1): 123–136. doi:10.2522/ptj.20070043. PMID 17986496.

(iv) Chow, R.; Johnson, M.; Lopes-Martins, R.; Bjordal, J. (Nov 2009). “Efficacy of low-level laser therapy in the management of neck pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo or active-treatment controlled trials.”. Lancet 374 (9705): 1897–1908. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61522-1. PMID 19913903.

(v) Hamblin, Michael R. “Mechanisms of Low Level Light Therapy.” (2008): n. pag. Web. 17 Sept. 2012.

(vi) Hamblin, Michael R. “Low Level Laser Light Therapy.” (2012). n. pag. Web. 17 Sep. 2012. Click Here to Read This Article.

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