New method offers hope in battle against hair loss

Whether baldness will ever be a thing of the past, we do not know, but in any case we are working hard on possible solutions. American scientists recently devised a transplantation method that can generate new hair growth. In contrast to the traditional transplant, this method can also provide a solution for women and people with scars.

In a traditional hair transplant, hair is simply redistributed from one part of the scalp to another. This is not possible in people whose hair surface is too small, in women – who usually have little ‘donor hair’, in people who have scars on the scalp and in hair loss as a result of burns.

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center discovered that the cells of hair follicles can produce new hair on donor tissue. They transplanted those cells onto human skin that they had grafted onto laboratory mice. Within a few weeks, fine hair grew on five of the seven mice.

Geneticist Angela Christiano, who previously discovered a genetic basis for hair loss, quickly hopes to grow hair thicker. To test whether the treatment is reliable, she will take the hair out and see if it grows again.

Remedies

For the prevention of genetic hair loss in men, apart from a hair transplant, several other remedies are available. Medically, there are only two substances that have been proven to work, although they do not work with everyone.

Finasteride, a tablet-based treatment, affects about 80 percent of men. It inhibits the action of an enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT, a hormone that causes damage in the hair follicles and can lead to hair loss.

The liquid solution Minoxidil has an influence on the blood supply to the hair follicles. The efficacy of this drug was accidentally discovered when it was used in patients with heart disease. The patients reported an increase in hair growth. This product works for two thirds of the men.

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