Report On Progress In Hair Regrowth Technology 2014


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Male pattern baldness is largely determined by genetic factors although it’s unclear what evolutionary advantage it confers to its recipients, some suggest from anthropological observation that there is a survival and reproductive benefit for males who are able to indicate physically their age and status via a balding crown.  Despite this, many males nevertheless think that it’s much better to have a full head of hair and appear fit in a youthful way rather than in an aged way.  Although hair regrowth technology is as of yet insufficiently advanced to restore all hair, there have been some amazing developments in the past 20 years.

1.  Hair Transplant – For some reason the hair follicle cells on the back of the head and sideburns do not under the same MBP process as the hairs on the temple and top of the head.  Surgeons exploit this difference by removing strips of hair follicles from the back, closing the gap with stitches, and splitting the strip into small units that are then transplanted into bald regions.  The procedure is very much an art and depends on the skill of the surgeon.

2.  Laser Comb – Early clinical results suggest that the “laser comb” or frequency comb device may in fact promote hair growth through hitherto unknown mechanisms.  Biochemists think that the laser light stimulates via heat signaling pathways in the hair follicle cells, keeping them in growth phase longer.

3.  Finasteride – Called Proscar or Propecia, this drug was originally used to treat enlarged prostate but was found serendipitously to regrow hair also.  The mechanism is not clear but scientists suspect that it inhibits an androgen receptor.  Usually the androgen receptor, upon receiving male hormones which circulate the blood, stimulates the hair follicle cells to stay in growth phase for shorter periods of time.  The inhibition by finasteride means that the hormones no longer signal to the hair follicle cells causing them to have longer growth phases.

4.  Hair Promoting Foods – As with finasteride, it has been suggested that there are natural sources of androgen receptor inhibitors in foods that promote hair re-growth.  Clinical research is ongoing to show that certain foods have a hair growth promoting effect.

5.  Stem Cells – While fraud has been rampant in the stem cell field, a few bright spots emerged in 2013 when Columbia researchers showed that it was possible to regrow hair in mice by transplanting stem-like cells which generated completely new hair follicle cells in bald areas.  This is unlike transplantation in which the number of follicle cells remains constant.

(Photo Credit: Rick Eh? / Creative Commons)

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