Current Male Pattern Baldness Research
Recently, scientists discovered that asteroids have their own moons, Egyptians had iron sent from above, and French wine is not actually French. With all these discoveries, isn’t it time someone found a suitable treatment for male pattern baldness? Now, it looks like researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in America and the University of Bradford in the U.K. have made progress in the area of alopecia.
Male pattern baldness (MPB) is a chronic condition that affects millions of men worldwide. Also called androgenetic alopecia, MPB accounts for more than 95% of hair loss in men. By age 35, around two-thirds of men in the U.S. will have some degree of hair loss, and by age 50, 85 percent of men will have thinning hair (American Hair Loss Association, 2013).
Newly Discovered Growth Factor Regrows Hair
According to researchers Gay and associates (2013), there is a growth factor that regenerates hair follicles. Called Fgf9, this growth factor substance was found to produce more than double the normal number of hair follicles in laboratory mice subjects. This leads investigators to speculate that humans could use Fgf9 to treat this male pattern baldness.
Normally manufactured by highly-specialized T cells in the body, this growth factor forms part of the immune system. Humans have a low number of essential T cells, and this causes poor regrowth of hair on injured or wounded skin. With Fgf9, there is a stimulation of hair growth. Once Fgf9 is released from the T cells, it serves as a catalyst for the signal that leads to fibroblast formation and generation of new follicles. When someone is wounded, the hair follicle growth becomes blocked as the skin heals and forms a scar. In the mice subjects with reduced Fgf9, there was a decrease in wound-induced hair follicle growth. However, when the growth factor was increased there was a two- to three-fold increase in that number (Gay et al., 2013).
According to dermatologists, these findings could explain why humans do not regrow hair after injuries. The scientists’ earlier work found that increased signaling from certain pathways in the skin doubled the number of new hair follicles. The Penn State team (Gay, 2013) investigated this to find that an important cascade of signals prompt the hair growth, as well as amplify and perpetuate signals that are sent during the hair follicle regeneration phase.
FDA-Approved Drug for Hair Loss Associated with MPB
If you are balding and want to grow back your hair, there is some really good news. A recent research report that was published in the FASEB Journal shows that bimatoprost (an FDA-approved glaucoma drug) can regrow human hair. Used by women for eyelash lengthening, Latisse (the name brand of bimatoprost) is proven to lengthen and thicken eyelashes. Now, researchers Karzan and colleagues (2012) proved that men could benefit as well.
Three sets of experiments were conducted using bimatoprost. Two of these involved human cells and the other involved mice subjects. When the bimatroprost was put on hair follicles growing in a culture base, they found that the drug caused the hair to regrow. Also, when it was applied to bald spots on mice, bimatoprost initiated regrowth of the animals’ hair. This discovery could be the much-anticipated breakthrough men have been waiting for.
Online Doctors can Effectively Treat Male Pattern Baldness and Other Conditions
Healthcare professionals are now using email and computer technology to communicate with the people they serve. Over 50 percent of adults in the U.S. report that they would agree to use an online doctor for services. Most people want to interact with a virtual doctor to request for a prescription or ask questions, according to recent studies (Saurage Research, 2011). Over 10 percent of doctors plan to use video software and computer technology for online consultations in the future. Now, patients who have male pattern baldness or other chronic, common conditions do now have to travel to see a doctor and be bothered with the hassle of the check-in process.
Researchers say that remote medicine appeals to many people because the wait time is eliminated, as is the exposure to acutely ill, infectious individuals, such as someone with the flu. Additionally, only 25% of Americans have government-based health insurance at present, and many people have no insurance. A usual doctor visit cost around $150 on the average, compared to only $60 for online consultations. The use of online doctors makes sense for uninsured Americans. Also, quality of care is always a question or concern. The truth is that patients report satisfaction with the quality of online services they receive. Nurse helplines have been around for decades, and now, doctors are readily available in a similar ways.
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