The HairlossSucks Newsletter has become the most widely
distributed and single most comprehensive
source for up to date hair loss information anywhere on the web.
IN THIS MONTH'S ISSUE:
T-Gel Shampoo Cause Cancer?
Why California Wants to Expose the Coal Tar in Dandruff Shampoos
And Why the Industry Is Resisting
Coal tar may sound like some backwoods remedy your grandparents used, but the stuff is an active ingredient in a variety of popular dandruff shampoos. Dermatologists say it works to control those pesky flakes and relieve the itch. The only catch is that, well, in high doses coal tar causes cancer.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledges that coal tar is carcinogenic but says that the over-the-counter coal-tar shampoos are safe for both adults and children. Shampoo makers agree. But in California, where both hair and novel legal actions grow long and wild, the leader of a nonprofit environmental and public health group and the state attorney general's office are suing more than 20 manufacturers of coal-tar shampoos and ointments to require them to place warning labels on their products -- and ultimately to sell them by prescription only.
Well-known companies named in the suit include Neutrogena, American Home Products and Walgreens.
"The companies' refusal to label these products is irresponsible and illegal," said Perry Gottesfeld, who filed the lawsuit.
Proposition 65, a voter-initiated measure adopted in 1986, allows California to set stricter safety standards for certain consumer products than the FDA does. Prop 65 requires any item sold in California that contains a known carcinogen to have a warning label, regardless of whether it's been blessed by the FDA.
Coal tar is a black, viscid liquid distilled from coal and used to make a variety of products, from dyes to pavements. The substance has long been associated with lung cancer among roofers and asphalt workers, as well as skin and scrotum cancer among distillation workers, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Science.
Yet no study has convincingly shown that coal-tar shampoos, which usually contain less than 1 percent coal tar, cause skin cancer, according to the FDA. In formulating the shampoo, many of the tar's carcinogenic chemicals are removed, and the residue quickly rinses away from the scalp.
According to Prop 65, products that carry "no significant risk level" do not need warnings, according to Sue Fiering, a deputy attorney general involved in the lawsuit. Prop 65 defines risk as causing more than one case of cancer per 100,000 people exposed.
Shampoo manufacturers sponsored an independent health study last year that found their coal-tar products to be safe, even by that standard. But in a study commissioned by the attorney general's office, the shampoos failed to meet the test. Now the courts will decide if the industry has met its burden of proof.
While the California plaintiffs pursue their case, federal authorities seem unimpressed.
Dennis Baker, FDA's associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, reviewed 12 health studies that Gottesfeld is using to support his claim that the coal-tar shampoos pose a significant health risk. Baker found all of the studies seriously flawed.
Gottesfeld's reaction? "The FDA doesn't have the backbone to stand up to industry."
Coal tar is certainly no secret ingredient. Neutrogena boldly touts coal tar's effectiveness. Its T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo is clearly labeled as containing 0.5 percent coal tar. The extra-strength formula has 1 percent coal tar. But other anti-dandruff products use alternative compounds. Neutrogena, for example, also offers T/Sal, a shampoo with salicylic acid. Head & Shoulders uses no coal tar, relying on zinc as its active ingredient.
If the California court favors the plaintiffs, Fiering said, shampoo manufacturers may opt to lower the concentration of coal tar or remove it altogether.
One of Prop 65's success stories was lowering lead concentrations in calcium supplements. Manufacturers of the supplements, faced with making separate products for California and the rest of the United States, decided simply to lower the lead levels nationwide. In this way, Fiering said, the entire nation often benefits from California's strict safety standards.
Until the case is resolved, you can go back to the old reliable beer and egg shampoo -- provided the eggs don't have salmonella, and the beer isn't past its expiration date. . . .
We've all heard the story time and
again. "Propecia maintains hair in 83% of men in a two
year clinical trial for those who took 1mg daily". For
over three years we've all wondered exactly how long Propecia
could maintain that level of success, as the clinical trials
continued without so much as a peep from Merck or the FDA.
Well finally the pharmaceutical
giant has spoken.
Some men were on Propecia.
Some men took a placebo (pill with no active ingredient in
it). After five years, the men who had been on Propecia had
an average of 277 more hairs in a 1 inch diameter circle area than
those who were on the placebo. Reviewing the results from
that viewpoint shows Propecia to be a complete success, and
compared to no treatment at all, it has shown itself to still be
the most effective clinically proven treatment around for
maintaining hair count - now for at least 5 years.
But let's look at this from another
angle. Comparing to Placebo (no treatment at all) is a piece
of cake. Clearly placebo users are going to decline.
What about the performance of those on Propecia though, from year
to year? How did their status progress or decline as time
rolled on, and the pills were popped?
After the first year of treatment,
those that did regrow hair did so with an average of over 90 hairs
in the specified area. By year two, that newly grown hair
decreased to an average of 80. By year three, the new hair
they had grown decreased in count to around 60. By year four
it decreased to around 40 hairs. By the fifth year, the hair
that Propecia had grown
If nothing else, Propecia continues
to hold the title as the best possible treatment for long term
maintenance of hair. No other hair loss treatment has been
tested so rigorously and for such a long period of time,
For younger men just starting to
lose their hair, these 5 year results are exciting news. Men
just starting to lose hair today are the first men in the history
of the human race to keep a full head of hair when they should
have otherwise gone bald. With Dutasteride in the pipeline,
and several other potentials being researched, this 5 years of
maintenance and slight growth for the majority of Propecia users
is nothing but good news. Buying time has always been the
name of the game.
For those who are looking to
regrow, a combination treatment of Propecia, Nizoral, Rogaine, and
Tricomin are the best possible options available, with clinical
For the complete article including
specifics on the numbers and the incidence of side effects found
after 5 years, please view the PROPECIA
5 YEAR RESULTS article.
Read more about Propecia here:
Discuss Propecia in our Forums here:
Last month we announced the press
release regarding a new protein which has been proven in recent
studies done on mice to increase the diameter of hair when
applied topically. You can see the original story in our
March Newsletter here: http://www.HairlossSucks.com/nl32001.htm#3
We received word from a source that
VEGF is now available for purchase, in the form of a topical
product called "Anastim", which contains an ingredient
called RTH16. This ingredient is said to help stimulate the
body's own production of VEGF - which as you can see in the
article above, is a natural ingredient that also has been shown to
increase the diameter of the hairs.
You can read more about it at the
If you aren't fluent in French and Spanish, you can paste the
above URL's into the URL box at the following translation web
site, and it will automatically translate the page for you:
HairlossSucks is pursuing acquiring
this product to add to our Online
Product Center in the near future, if it proves to be a
Please note! VEGF stimulating
have not been clinically proven to work for male pattern baldness
in any trials on human subjects, nor has there been any safety
testing involved. Use extreme caution and do your research
before you take any actions.
Happened to Alt.Baldspot?!
One of the most frequented methods
for accessing the most well known newsgroup on hair loss anywhere
on the internet - alt.baldspot - was recently dealt a death blow
by corporate america via the purchase of Deja.com by the folks at
Google.com. Along with the purchase came some incredibly bad
planning, as between 5,000 and 10,000 weekly readers of the
newsgroup could suddenly no longer view any messages or post
messages to the web site.
What once was a bustling mecca of
information exchange, complete with intelligent and not-so
intelligent discussions on hair loss, became a desolate, virtual
ghost town reserved for the few who used means other than Deja to
access their newsgroups.
Google shut down the newsgroup
interface for well over a week with promises of bigger and better
things to come, but today, over a month later, Deja.com remains a
shoddy version of its former self with poorly updated threads,
missing messages, difficult navigation, and no ability to post new
messages or retrieve email.
How can I start reading &
posting to Alt.Baldspot again?
Well, it's not going to be easy,
but if you're good at following directions, the steps below will
get you back up and running on the newsgroup with only a little
bit of blood, sweat, and tears. These steps are foolproof,
(we had a fool write them) so set aside 15 minutes and get yourself set up, because Google
may never be as easy or as fun as Deja was.
The instructions below should be
Printed out before you start. If you would rather not print
this whole newsletter out, you can CLICK
HERE to see the steps for newsgroup setup on a single
quick-sheet page with nothing else on it.
Are you an AOLer?
America Online Users - According to
our logs, over 80% our 65,000 visitors each month are using
America Online. If you are an AOLer, you have a newsreader
program built in. Just go to keyword
"Newsgroups". If it's your first time there,
you'll receive a popup telling you to set your
"Preferences". You can do this later, when you get
familiar with it.
- After clicking "Ok" on
the popup, you will be presented with a window full of
- In the "Internet Name"
box, type alt.baldspot and click the
- You will get a popup confirming
that you've been subscribed. Click "OK"
- Now you will see a window with a
set of preferences for the specific Newsgroup. Run
through this quick checklist to ensure your preferences are
Not Checked - Hide Binary Files
Not Checked - Enable Offline Reading (not necessary unless you
pay per hour for AOL access)
Not Checked - Don't show messages longer than 500 characters
Show messages no more than ___ days old. (You can set
this to your liking)
Select Filter Type - Leave these untouched. You can come
back here if you want to modify them later.
- Click "Save"
- The window will disappear, and
you'll see the Expert Add window. Click the X in the
upper right corner to close it
- The window will disappear, and
you'll see the main Newsgroups window you started at.
- Click "Read My
- alt.baldspot will be listed at
the top. To the right you can see how many current
messages are listed in the newsgroup.
- Double click the alt.baldspot
item in the list.
- You're done! You can now
read the alt.baldspot newsgroup.
- First order of business.
Click once on the heart in the upper right corner of the
window. This will save the item to your
"Favorites". Your "Favorites" are
listed as a menu item at the top of your AOL program. In
the future, all you will need to do is go up there and select
it from the dropdown. Very easy!
AOL User? Hah! No way!
Okay okay, settle down. We
know you think you're better than they are. You will now get to
make use of your superiority by paying dearly with a much less
intuitive process for accessing newsgroups. :) But
let's get to work. We'll make it as painless as possible.
What you Need to Know
- Your ISP - If you're reading
this right now, you have an ISP (Internet Service
Provider). Your ISP is what enables you to get online,
read Email, and browse web sites. Some examples of well
known ISP's are Earthlink, Cox, Roadrunner, and BTInternet.
Your ISP can also be through your work or school or any of
thousands of other companies out there.
- Your News Server - Before you
can proceed, you will need to find out what your ISP's news
server is. If you don't already know, you'll need to
contact your ISP and ask them. You will need this
information to proceed. News server names typically
start with "nntp". An example of a news server
name is "nntp.home.com" or "nntp.earthlink.net".
Your ISP will give you the appropriate name.
FREE NEWS SERVERS - If you're a cheapskate, or your ISP
doesn't have a news server (this is a sign that you need
a better ISP by the way), there are
free news servers out there. They're typically not very
reliable, and many times do not have all the newsgroups you
want, but here are a couple links to a list of free news
- some news servers require authentication to retrieve and
post to newsgroups. This means that even though you're
already online using your logon and password, to access the
news server you must have your newsreader send that info
through again. Ask your ISP if your news server requires
authentication and make a mental note.
Mail Server - Before you can proceed, you will need
to find out what your ISP's mail server is. If you don't
already know, ask them. Mail server names typically have
the following format: smtp.yourisp.com or
mail.yourisp.com Your ISP will give you the appropriate
- Your News Reader - In order to
access the newsgroups, you will need a program which
connects you to newsgroups, just like you use a web browser to
access web sites. HairlossSucks.com has done a lot of research, and
feel that "MicroPlanet Gravity" is the most user
friendly, easiest to set up, and most feature-filled
newsreader available. We will be using this program as
our example, but have included installation and setup
instructions for XNews, and Outlook Express as well, for your
Gravity - The Most
Functionality, Best features, Easiest Interface - $39 registration Fee
with a fully functional 30 day evaluation period.
- Downloading the Newsreader -
Please click the following link to download the Gravity
(2.4MB, will take about 20 minutes at 56k)
- When it's done downloading, a
window may pop up with an "Install" button on
it. If so, go ahead and click that button. If not,
simply find the file on your hard drive and double click
it. A window will pop up asking you to accept.
Click "I Accept". Then click "Proceed
- Select the location you'd like
to install the software to, then click "OK".
It will ask if you want to launch Gravity
when you click a link your web browser. This is up to
you. "Add to Start Menu?" - this is
up to you. ReadMe file will appear, click
"OK". "Do you want to start Gravity
now?" Click "Yes".
- The Gravity intro screen will
appear, click "Ok".
Server Nickname: "Newsgroups"
News Server Address:
Example - nntp.yourisp.com You must
get this information from your Internet Service Provider to
Mail Server: Example -
mail.home.com You must get this information from your
Internet Service Provider to proceed.
Organization: Anything you
Email Address: Whatever
email address you want displayed when posting
Reply address for posts:
Where you want people's replies to be emailed to *IF* they
decide to post to the newsgroup and email you as well.
Advanced: If your news
server requires you to send your logon and password through
again, enter that information here. Please see step 3
above, under "What you Need to Know"
When you're done, click "OK".
- Gravity will now retrieve
all the newsgroups available in the usenet kingdom, and then a
window will pop up. In the "Search" box at the
top right, type in "alt.baldspot" (without the
quotes). Click once to highlight it when it appears, and
then click the
- Click "Done".
The program will load up the latest messages, and you're ready
to go! Double click "alt.baldspot" and you
will see all the most recent messages in the middle window
pane. You wont need the top window pane again unless you
plan to add new newsgroups, so you can drag the window frame
below it to the top of the screen to hide it.
- Simply double click a message in
the top window, and the body of the message will appear in the
- To post to the newsgroup, click
the icon that looks like a Megaphone at the top. You're
- To learn about all the features
this program has (it has hundreds of incredibly cool ways to
mix and match your messages, killfile annoying posters, mark
important threads, etc) use the Help feature at the top of the
program, and click "Getting the Most out of
XNews - Basic Program, Not as
Many Features - No Registration Fee
- Downloading the Newsreader - Please click the following link to download the
http://xnews.3dnews.net/#download (500k, will take about 5 minutes
- When it's done downloading,
extract the files to a location on your hard drive and double
click the EXE file to run the program. There is no
install for this one.
- First you will be asked for your
News Server name (example: nntp.yourisp.com). You must
get this information from your Internet Service Provider to
proceed. Enter this information and click
- Next you'll be asked for your
"Alias". This is just what you want to call
your connection to the newsgroups. (example: My
Newsgroups). Click "OK".
- A rather complicated looking
window will appear. You only need to enter your User
Name & Password if your ISP requires it. This
information should have been obtained when you got the news
server name. At the bottom of this window you can see a
series of fields encased within a heading "Custom
Identity Data". This is the information people see
when you post. Enter your name in the appropriate field (what you're known by on the
newsgroup), email address, etc. When you're done, click "Okay".
- You will be asked "Retrieve
List of newsgroups from the server?". Click
"Yes". If you are on a modem, this could take
up to 15 minutes, so be patient. If you receive an error
here, it's because either 1) you have the wrong news server
name or 2) your server authentication settings were
wrong. Start the process over and this time enter
the username and password you use to log on to your ISP in the
"User Name" and "Password" fields.
This should fix the problem.
- Now you will see a list of
newsgroups in a box. If you're lucky like us, the first
newsgroup you see is 24hour.frogbuttdesk. Believe it or
not, this is a newgroup. What it's about, we wont bother
- You will see a toolbar
underneath this list, and about 3/4 of the way to the right
you'll see a yellow shaded section with an empty white box in
it. Here is where you type alt.baldspot. As you
type, you will see the list begin to reshuffle until it finds
the newsgroup for you.
- To the left of the box you're
typing in, you will see a button with a GREEN " + "
sign in it. Click this to subscribe to the alt.baldspot
- You may wish to maximize the
window size at this time and make the program full screen if
it already isn't. Now simply double click alt.baldspot
in the window, and you will see all the posts available.
You will want to Maximize this window to be full screen by
clicking once on the middle button in the upper right corner
of the window.
- You're in! Simply click
once on one of the messages listed in the top frame, and you
will see it appear in the bottom frame.
- To Post, go up to
"Article" at the top menu, and click "Post to
Newsgroup". For information on all the features
this program has to offer, please review their docs at: http://xnews.3dnews.net/manual.html
Outlook Express - Basic
Program - Very Few Features - No Registration Fee
- If you have Internet Explorer
4.0 or higher installed on your system, you probably already
have Outlook Express. To use this method for reading
newsgroups, simply go to your Start button at the bottom of
the screen and click
In the box that pops up, type the
following exactly as you see it here: C:\Program Files\Outlook
Express\msimn.exe If this doesn't work, change the
"C" to whatever your main hard drive letter is.
- Once the program has loaded, it
may ask you if you want to make Outlook Express your default
mail client. If you are not already using this program
to read your email, make sure you click "NO".
Uncheck the checkbox as well.
- Go up to "Tools" on
the top menu, then click "Accounts". Once this
is up, click the "News" tab.
- Click "Add" then
- Enter your Display Name, click
Next. Enter your Email, click Next.
- Enter your News Server name (example: nntp.yourisp.com). You must
get this information from your Internet Service Provider to
proceed. If your ISP requires you to log on, check the
checkbox here. See Step 2 and 3 above under "What
you Need to Know". If you check the checkbox, you
will be asked to enter your Username and Password on the next
screen. If not you'll see the "You are
finished" screen. Click "Finish".
- You will now see that you've
added newsgroup reading to Outlook Express. You should
be back at the first popup window. You may also notice
that your news server name has popped in on the left side of
the screen in the list of items. For now, just click
"Close" on the popup in front of you.
- You will now be asked if you
want Outlook to download newsgroups. Click
"Yes". Outlook is VERY slow, so give it time.
- You will see a window with a box
at the top titled "Display newsgroups which
contain" In this box type alt.baldspot and then
click the Subscribe button. Now click the "Go
To" button at the bottom. If you plan to use
Outlook express from here forward, click "Yes" on
the question regarding whether you want to make it your
default news client. If not, click "No".
- You're in! It should load
the available messages in the top window pane, and when you
click one, you will see the body of the message appear in the
bottom window pane.
- To post a message, click the
"New Post" icon at the top. To reply to
someone, make sure the message is showing in the bottom window
pane, and click "Reply Group".
|New Law to
have Hair Pieces covered Insurance
Lawmaker wants insurance companies to pay for some hairpieces
March 28, 2001
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Giving new meaning to the word "coverage," a Pennsylvania lawmaker has introduced a bill to require insurance companies to pay for hairpieces in certain cases.
State Rep. Anthony DeLuca says toupees should be covered by insurance if hair loss is caused by a medical condition.
DeLuca's bill notes toupees are often prescribed for cancer patients who sustain hair loss after undergoing chemotherapy, and for persons afflicted by alopecia areata, a genetic disorder that causes hair loss.
Toupees can lessen the emotional effects of hair loss, help control body temperature, and protect diseased, sensitive skin from ultraviolet radiation, said
DeLuca, who does not wear a hairpiece.
"Insurance companies call it cosmetic, but unfortunately it's a necessity for people who get these kinds of diseases," DeLuca said.
For more information on hair systems, check out our Hair
increases Quantities 50%
The following press release was received from the
Revivogen team this week regarding quantities in their product:
For Immediate Release.
Los Angeles, California, USA. March 31, 2001.
Advanced Skin and Hair, LLC announces a 50% increase in the 3 and 6 month supply of Revivogen Scalp Therapy formula. Now each 3 month supply of Revivogen Scalp Therapy will consist of 6 oz. or 180 ml and accordingly 12 oz. or 360 ml for a six month supply. This is a permanent increase and the result of decreased production costs due to increased demand for Revivogen line. This increase is effective immediately and available from all Revivogen suppliers.
For information on Revivogen, check
out our Revivogen
|Stylists Are Seeing Less and Less ... Hair?
Stylists are noticing an increase in the number of men and women experiencing hair loss or thinning, according to results of a survey conducted by Paul
Mitchell Rogaine Professional at the International Beauty Show. The stylists identified men ages 25-34 and women ages 35-44 as the groups with the greatest increase of hair thinning or loss.
Thinning hair can affect both men and women as early as in their teens. Hair is at its thickest when a person is 20 years old, but it gradually begins to thin after that. Almost 40 percent of women with hair thinning never expect it to happen to them because it is an issue that is rarely discussed among or in relation to them, according to research.
"Our society places a high value on hair, which makes hair loss and thinning a very difficult issue to discuss," said Lynn Glaze, stylist with John Paul Mitchell Systems. "Stylists have the ability to break through these barriers and talk about hair loss and viable treatment options available to them."
Forty-five percent of the stylists surveyed believe that it is extremely important for clients with thinning hair to use a hair loss treatment in addition to styling their hair. The stylists also rated products such as volumizers and root lifters as extremely important in dealing with fine or thinning hair.
"As stylists, we are often the first people to notice hair thinning -- even before our clients do," said Justine Beech, Director of Color for Los Angeles' Gavert Atelier hair salon. "Therefore, it is important that stylists be educated on hair thinning and loss, so that we can provide our clients with solutions that work."
About styling and coloring techniques
Styling techniques including short blunt cuts and the modern messy look were rated as excellent for fine or thinning hair. Stylists also rated a layered cut as good for fine or thinning hair.
"Thinning hair may be difficult to style," said Glaze. "With the right style, color, volumizing products, conditioning treatments, and hair loss treatment, you can boost their hair's volume, fullness and beauty for better overall health and life of the hair."
According to the survey results, stylists find that hair loss treatments, use of color, volumizing products, and a change in hairstyle are effective means to add lift to fine or thinning hair.
About hair thinning and loss
Nearly 50 million men and 30 million women in the United States experience hair loss and thinning hair. Hair loss and thinning occurs when a person loses more hairs than normal. Typically, people shed 40 to 100 hairs a day. When hair is thinning, the amount shed begins to slowly increase.
Although it has been traditionally considered part of the male's aging process, hair loss affects women too, although somewhat differently. Men typically develop "bald spots" and/or a receding hairline. Women generally experience diffuse thinning over the entire top of the head, which can be difficult to detect.
There are few options available to treat hair loss and thinning. Paul
Mitchell Rogaine Professional For Women is the only FDA-approved treatment for female hair loss that is available exclusively through salons. In a user survey, four in five women reported a slowing or stopping of hair loss. Paul
Mitchell Rogaine Professional For Men is the most advanced medically proven hair regrowth product available without a prescription, regrowing hair or helping to stop hair loss in four out of five men.
discovery for Hair Loss
Gene variant of the androgen
receptor associated with male pattern baldness
Australian researchers have
identified the first gene candidate for male pattern baldness
(MPB). A variant of the androgen receptor (AR) gene was found in
98 percent of young men with premature balding and more than 90
percent of older bald men in the study.
However, the Stu1 gene variant of
the androgen receptor, which was discovered by Stephen Harrap and
colleagues, of the University of Melbourne, in Australia, does not
change the structure of the receptor. The variation is also found
in nearly 77 percent of men who were not bald at the time of the
"It would appear that
tissue-specific abnormalities of the AR are not sufficient per se
to cause baldness," the researchers write in The Journal
of Investigative Dermatology.
The researchers believe that
mutations in or close to AR may play a role in MPB, but the
condition is likely to be caused by several genes of which the AR
is just one.
Androgens are a group of hormones
that direct the growth and development of the male reproductive
system. The most important androgen is testosterone, which is
produced in the testes.
Previous research supports the
finding that the androgen receptor is involved in MPB. The pattern
of hair loss is predominant in men, and absent in castrated men.
Finasteride, a drug that blocks the formation of the androgen DHT,
can reverse baldness. And most important, high levels of the
androgen receptor are found in the frontal and vertex scalp where
balding occurs, while levels are normal on other areas of the
Hair Loss Q & A Article
Gwyneth Paltrow Terrified Of Going Bald
(take it with a grain of salt folks)
PALTROW has started using the hair-growing drug ROGAINE
because she's terrified of going bald, claims American
tabloid THE GLOBE.
Friends of the SLIDING DOORS star have told The Globe
Gwyneth, who has gone from blonde, to brunette, to redhead
and back to blonde in the last few years, is terrified she's
permanently wrecked her hair by too much dyeing. One pal
says, "Gwyneth is really
worried about going bald because she's had her hair treated
and dyed so many times that it has become weak at the roots.
"She gets a lot of roles because of her stunning
looks, so if her hair's coming out, it could hurt her
And friends add the 28-year-old star has been using Rogaine
for women on the set of her latest movie A VIEW FROM THE
TOP, rubbing the solution into her scalp twice a day.
it's not Male Pattern Baldness...
AHair-Raising Question: Can Hair Loss Signal an Underlying Internal Disease?
Unexpected hair loss at any age can be devastating. Society places a high value on personal appearance, and hair is one of a person's most visible features. But while some people may initially view hair loss as a cosmetic problem, it could be a sign of a serious medical condition.
Speaking today at the American Academy of Dermatology's 2001 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., dermatologist Amy McMichael, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C., discussed some of the serious internal diseases as well as diseases with drug side effects that are linked to hair disorders.
Diseases that cause alopecia, or hair loss, and are life threatening include thyroid disease, chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS, lupus erythematosus, and severe illness of any kind.
Hair loss can be a sign of both hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid, and hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid. In hyperthyroidism, scalp hair may be fine and soft with scattered alopecia. In hypothyroidism, head and body hair can become dry and coarse with scattered partial alopecia, madarosis (or loss of the lateral one-third of the eyebrows), or an increased percentage of telogen hairs, or shedding hairs.
Although hair loss is usually transient and not permanent, it can often be the most traumatic part of chemotherapy. Hair loss is a noticeable side effect of cancer treatment and can cause changes in self-esteem and body image. Chemotherapeutic agents can cause hair cells to stop dividing. In some cases, patients can lose up to 90 percent of their scalp hair. When the cancer treatment ends, the hair will usually regrow. Common drugs that cause alopecia include methotrexate, cyclophosphamide, bleomycin, doxorubicin, mitomycin, cytarabine, vinblastine, and vincristine.
"There have been efforts to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy, such as cooling caps to reduce blood flow to the scalp," said Dr. McMichael. "Currently, there are Phase I and II trials in progress for drugs that affect the immune system and drugs that act on vitamin D receptors in mouse studies. But so far, all of these therapies are experimental at best."
Lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease that is characterized by a rash and plaques that can be quite disfiguring to the patient. In a study of 73 patients with systemic lupus, 40 percent had non-scarring alopecia and 14 percent had scarring alopecia. In addition, telogen effluvium has long been observed during flares of this disease.
"As with almost any type of medical condition, hair loss can respond well to treatment if it is caught early enough," said Dr. McMichael. "But it is important to pay close attention to any changes in the hair's appearance or texture, as unexpected hair loss could be a sign of a serious medical condition. Seeing a dermatologist is the key to proper diagnosis and treatment for any type of hair loss."
Today, but there'snow Tomorrow!
By John Young
March 2001 - The snowstorm that pounded New England last week was a doozy, but couldn't hold a shovel to the February hit of 1978. Everyone who lived through it has a story to tell.
A neighbor of mine had a rather unusual one: Leonard Johnson hadn't missed a day of work in 12 years. And no silly "storm of the century" was going to stop him this day.
Mr. Johnson, bald as a bagel, had recently bought a $39 toupee. He looked like, well, a Chia pet in desperate need of water. But that didn't bother Johnson. He and his hairpiece were not to be parted - so to speak.
Then, while driving to work that stormy day, avec la toupee neatly centered on his dome, his car skidded off the road and plowed into a snowdrift.
"I got out of the car and shoveled like mad under each wheel." Still stuck. "Then I grabbed some wire coat hangers out of the trunk and threw a bunch under each tire," he reminisced the other day.
It worked. He peeled out of the drift and spun onto the street, then walked back and gathered the hangers and split.
"Then as I was driving off, I looked in the rearview mirror. I was bald as a billiard ball. My hair was gone!" After walking back and searching for his toupee, he found it plastered against the side of a tree.
"After work, I took it, washed it, and blew it dry, but it looked like a shingle," he lamented with a laugh. "I just threw it in the trash."
That was the end of Johnson's toupee days, but not those New England snowstorms, or stories.
Nearly 10 months after his second
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the Counter vs. Prescription Hair Loss Treatments
loss is a devastating condition that affects
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Threatens to Limit availability of health care/hair loss
treatments, risking Strike
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania -- Commuters who ride Philadelphia's transit system took off for work on Thursday uncertain if they would have an easy way home after the transit union let its contract expire at midnight without striking.
Harry Lombardo, trustee of Transit Workers Union Local 234, would not guarantee buses and trains would run by
afternoon, before the contract's 12:01 a.m. deadline, when negotiations with the management of Philadelphia's transit agency, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) broke off.
Health care is atop the contract talks agenda -- union officials object to SEPTA's plans to institute monthly co-payments for managed care benefits, deductibles for hospitalization and office visits and to limit the availability of drugs such as Viagra and those
like Propecia, used to reduce hair loss.
"I am not going to be the irresponsible party here and shut this city down at midnight because I know how close we are," Lombardo said late
Wednesday. "We will strike if it becomes necessary," he told the Philadelphia Daily News. "SEPTA told me, go ahead and strike."
SEPTA workers last struck in June 1998 after working for two months without a contract while union and agency officials bickered over work rules. The strike lasted 40 days and left many city workers and schoolchildren who depend on SEPTA for transportation in the lurch.
While some 30,000 public and private school students use SEPTA to get to and from their classes, public school students will not be immediately affected by a strike -- city schools are closed Friday and Monday for spring break.
School administrators, however, are putting plans in place to deal with a strike, regardless of its length.