Articles Tagged with: Harvard School of Public Health

Hair loss and Lou Gehrig’s Disease: Are They Related?

Is Early Balding a Sign of Lou Gehrig's Disease? A new study has early hair loss sufferers looking in the mirror with added caution. According to a new study of more than a half million men who ranged in age from mid 40s to early 80s, signs of early balding or hair loss might be tied with the onset of Lou Gehrig’s disease.

For men, the new study provides a much needed wake-up call to be proactive in monitoring their own scalp for signs of early balding, as well as seek the guidance of a certified medical professional should signs of hair loss be detected. As for researchers, the team behind the new study says their findings might provide valuable insight for Lou Gehrig’s disease research, a relatively mysterious neurodegenerative condition that adversely affects an estimated 30,000 Americans (i).

Exploring the Link Between Lou Gehrig’s Disease and Hair Loss

The link between Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and hair loss was discovered after researchers performed a longitudinal study that compared the hair lines of men at two distinct stages in life: Mid-forties (age 45), and early sixties (age 61).

The study began with researchers asking men to describe the state of their hair at age 45. After polling more than 500,000 men, researchers found that men exhibited hair loss in the following proportions:

  • 44% of men reported no balding at age 45.
  • 42% of men reported moderate balding at age 45.
  • 14% reported extensive balding at age 45.

Sixteen years later, researchers examined the same group of participants for signs of ALS. The results were as follows:

  • 11 of those who reported extensive balding at age 45 had developed ALS.
  • 13 of those who reported no balding at age 45 had developed ALS.
  • As a result of these findings, researchers were able to determine that individuals who experience early signs of balding are up to 3 times more likely to develop ALS.

Researchers are quick to warn that there is no need to panic, however.

“This doesn’t mean that bald people should worry,” explains Elinor Fondell, the author of the study and a researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health (ii).

Despite the correlation, it’s important to note that at least 13 individuals who were surveyed had “no balding” at age 45 yet developed ALS by age 61. In light of these outliers, researchers believe a thorough series of follow-up studies are needed to more conclusively determine how hair loss might be related to Lou Gehrig’s disease, if at all.

How to Detect Male Hair Loss

Hair loss affects an estimated 20 million or more American men. While researchers need more time to determine how hair loss and Lou Gehrig’s disease are related, there is compelling evidence suggesting that hair loss might lead to hypertension and other cardiovascular system issues.

To detect hair loss, men as early as 20 years of age can do the following:

  1. Monitor for signs of hair accumulation in the shower (along the rim of the tub, drain, and personal hygiene products)
  2. Examine hair accumulation on combs and hairbrushes. Some accumulation is normal, however extensive accumulation could be a sign of thinning, shedding, or pattern baldness.
  3. Check your pillow for hairs in the morning.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the Norwood Classification to better understand what each stage of male pattern baldness looks like.

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, readers are invited to contact our office directly at 1-877-443-9070.

Sources:

(i) “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Fact Sheet.” National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Accessed 23 August 2013.

(ii) “Early Balding Might be Linked with Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” Live Science. Accessed 23 August 2013.

New Study: Oxidative Stress Might Cause Pattern Baldness

New Study- Oxidative Stress Might Cause Pattern BaldnessHave you eaten any blueberries lately? If so, hair surgeons say you might be less likely to suffer from androgenetic alopecia, or pattern baldness. According to a new study, certain vitamins and bioflavonoids could enhance the health and functionality of hair follicles, creating long and beautiful hair that will last long into adulthood.

Free Radicals, Oxidative Stress, and Balding. The idea that antioxidant super foods could hold the key to preventing hair loss comes from leading research institutions in the United Kingdom. The Centre for Cutaneous Research at the Queen Mary’s University of London, along with the Farjo Medical Centre and Unilever R&D, have published the findings in an abstract titled Oxidative Stress and Cell Senescence in Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA).

In the report, researchers contrast two separate cultures of hair follicle dermal papilla (DP): One from scalp that has experienced pattern baldness, and one from scalp that exhibits normal hair growth. By contrasting these two selections of DP, researchers were able to make a number of fascinating discoveries:

1. The derma papilla (DP) of balding scalp exhibited higher levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS).

ROS molecules are a special type of free radical that is sometimes produced when the body metabolizes oxygen. As professor of nutrition at Tufts University, Dr. Jeffrey Blumberg has dedicated his professional career to the study and science of free radicals, oxidation, and cell damage. He explains:

“While the body metabolizes oxygen very efficiently, 1% or 2% of cells will get damaged in the process and turn into free radicals,” (i).

Once produced, free radicals are known to swarm the body in search of an extra electron. Numerous studies suggest that this process causes damage on the cellular level, referred to as free radical damage. According to health experts at the Harvard School of Public Health, free radical damage may contribute to cardiovascular disease, vision loss, and other chronic conditions (ii). Now, according to researchers in the UK, it seems free radicals might also lead to pattern baldness by damaging hair follicles.

2. Higher levels of ROS corresponded to decrease cell motility.

Cell motility refers to the ability of body cells to naturally reproduce in a dynamic fashion. Motility is vital for wound healing, tissue regeneration, a number of other important biological functions. When comparing DP cultured from balding scalp to that of normal scalp, researchers found cell motility to decrease as oxygen levels increased, indicating that increased ROS might significantly impair the DP’s ability to support healthy long-term hair growth.

3. DP from balding scalp exhibits higher levels of cell senescence.

Cell senescence occurs when a cell is alive but no longer able to divide and proliferate. As cell senescence increases, the ability of the hair follicle to support natural hair growth decreases.

As a result of the 3 main findings above, researchers now believe “oxidative stress may exacerbate the onset of androgenetic alopecia [pattern baldness],” (iii).

This exclusive health report has been published by the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami. For additional information or appointment requests, please call toll-free 1-877-443-9070.

Sources:

(i) “How Antioxidants Work.” WebMD. Accessed 8 July 2013.

(ii) “Antioxidants: Beyond the Hype.” Harvard School of Public Health. Accessed 8 July 2013.

(iii) “Oxidative Stress and Cell Senescence in Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA)”