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HairlossSucks Newsletter - June 2001

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June's Big News - Hair Loss Conference - Tokyo Japan - over 170 abstracts revealing the results of over 170 different studies related to hair loss.  Everything from Hair loss's relation to Testicular cancer, to new discoveries in hair function, growth, and promising new treatments.  HairlossSucks has all the abstracts and all the conclusions right here for you.  Don't miss this . . .


shari lieberman Weekly Chat has Record Attendance!
Nearly 100 visitors joined us in last Sunday's chat. See who showed up!

barry resnik Web Based Alt.Baldspot Back Online
Google (Deja) resumes offering web based posting to alt.baldspot

marc avram HairlossSucks Celebrates Record Traffic!
HairlossSucks experiences exponential growth - reaching over 68,000 user sessions monthly (over 1 million hits!)

transplant Make HairlossSucks Your Site
Speak out!  Tell us what you want to see on our site, the sky is the limit The Importance of Preventing Hair Loss
The Psychology and Importance of Hair Loss Prevention versus Regrowth Women's Hair Loss Site recognized by AAD
Good information on women's hair loss on the web is awarded 

balding Hair Loss at age 18 - one Guy's Story
A bittersweet editorial on the perils of losing hair at an early age, written from firsthand experience. 

regrowth June Hair Loss Conference - Tokyo Japan
Don't lose hope - hundreds of researchers are meeting to discuss their recent findings on hair loss...

thinning Women's Hair Loss Symposium
New York City hosts a conference on the science and medicine behind female hair loss
Hair - Why it Grows, Why it Stops
June 2001 Scientific American gives great new insights into the latest discoveries related to hair loss and growth

thinning New Laser Hair Loss treatment 
Lasers for hair growth stimulation?  There is some evidence to back it...
ETG Prevents Chemotherapy Hair Loss
Electrotrichogenesis performs well in clinical study 

thinning Modrastane - New Hair Growth Stimulant?
Currently showing amazing results in Dogs with "Alopecia X", company plans to study further

Video Web casts brought to you this month by HairlossSucks & Healthology
  • The Biology of Hair Loss
    The average human scalp is covered by 100,000 hair follicles. If you've got all your hair, that may seem like a big number, but when you start to lose it, the fate of each follicle becomes more important. What decides that fate and what makes hair grow or fall out? Join our two experts as they cast some light on the issue.
  • Hair Loss Myths and Facts
    Has anyone ever told you that excessive shampooing causes hair loss, or do you think that hair loss only happens after you turn 50? There are a lot of popular myths out there about hair loss, and it's often hard to tell fact from fiction. Join our panelists as they set matters straight.
  • Women Lose It Too:  The causes of Female-Pattern Hair Loss
    Though hair loss can be embarrassing and unpleasant for anyone, our society considers hair loss in women a sort of cosmetic disaster. But it's not just social factors that set male and female baldness apart. The actual causes and symptoms of hair loss in women can be different as well. Join our guests as they explain the distinction between the two
  • Herbal Supplements:  Can They Fight Hair Loss?
    If you're trying to put an end to your hair loss, you've probably encountered an endless array of products that claim to stop or even reverse the process. A few are FDA-approved medications, but there are also many natural or herbal treatments that have not been subjected to the same rigorous tests. Do any of these actually work, and is there any harm in trying? Join our specialists as they take a close look at some of the most popular herbal remedies for hair loss.

Weekly Chat has Record Attendance

HairlossSucks Chat Thrives!  

Nearly a year and a half ago, HairlossSucks sprung up from the ruins of snake oil web sites to bring good clean information on hair loss in the form of the first successful hair loss chat web site on the internet. In the ensuing months, the site grew into much more than just a chat site, and we've spent a lot of time focusing on our Discussion Forums and Newsletters.  Now, nearly 20 months later, on Sunday, May 27 we invited all of you back to join us for a full day session, and boy did you respond!

Nearly 100 men and women seeking advice, information, and fellowship with others experiencing the same affliction we know as hair loss, showed up for the event. We would like to acknowledge all of you, and invite you back again next Sunday to participate in the growing community that HairlossSucks is proud to host.  Now, not only the most successful chat site on this topic, but host to the most successful Newsletter, and most used Discussion Forum anywhere on the web with nearly 7,500 posts in less than a year:


Alt.Baldspot Back Online!

We have some good news for those of you who gave up on newsgroup reading and posting when Google prematurely purchased and shut down the Deja web-based newsgroups.  Several months later, Google has now enabled posting to newsgroups from the web site.  The registration is extremely fast and easy to work your way through, and is quite an improvement upon Deja's old registration process.  You can be up and posting in less than 30 seconds.

Some of the downsides include having to wait up to 8 hours for your post to be displayed, and the well known less-intuitive message structure that Google has had up from the beginning.  

In any case, we all welcome you back to Alt.baldspot.  You can access the newsgroup directly by going to the following location:


HairlossSucks now serving over 68,000 user sessions, monthly!

The numbers are finally in, and we are proud to announce that HairlossSucks has officially grown to over 68,000 user sessions and over 1 million hits monthly.  This exponential growth is literally an 1,100% increase from the 6,000 user sessions we were serving up just over 1 year ago.  

What can this increased growth be attributed to? A recent Market Position report revealed that HairlossSucks is being linked to by over 550 web sites as a source of valuable information on hair loss. 

Our goals of being one of the most active hair loss information sites in the world are being realized, and more importantly, hundreds of thousands of people are being helped every year.  This announcement is a tribute to you, our users.  Thank you for being loyal HairlossSucks visitors over the months.  We commit to you to continue to bring the most up to date information anywhere on the web.  

If you are interested in seeing the full color graph and metrics, please Click Here.

To see the old HairlossSucks Site, as it looked when it first began, just Click Here.

Make HairlossSucks Your Site

You know how it is... You're surfing the web looking for something, and for the life of you, you can't find it.  You run across a fairly robust information site on the topic, but they still don't have that one feature, that one topic, that one "cool thing" that really scratches your itch.  It could be anything. 

Take a hair loss site for example.  What is it that you look for when you come here?  Do you really feel that the hair loss sites out there today are as useful as they could be?  Or do you skip through most of them and find yourself bored to death, or fishing for something that's just not there?  

Well the one thing we can't stand is an ineffective site.  Consequently, we want your input.  Give us ideas.  You've come here before, so when you got here, what were you looking for?  What do you think we're lacking?  What could we have more of?  You may think you're one in a million (actually only about 68,000) but we can guarantee that every single response will be read and considered seriously.  We look forward to your thoughts!

When you come to our site, do you find what you're looking for? 

Yes   No

If not, what is it you wanted that you could not find?

What content do you think HairlossSucks is lacking as a site?

What features would you like to see added to the site?

What are your favorite parts of the site?

Have you told anyone about HairlossSucks?
Yes  No


Male Pattern Hair Loss:  Prevention rather than Regrowth

Many of you just starting to experience the first signs of hair loss tend to become gung-ho about dumping on the treatments.  Many of your regimens are the same regimens men who have already lost a significant amount of hair are using to regrow entire sections of their scalp hair.  However, preventing hair loss is nowhere near as difficult as regrowing lost hair, and its likely that you do not need so many treatments just to maintain what you have.  Propecia, the current wonder drug, has an incredibly high success rate (83%) of maintaining men's hair counts.  Propecia use alone has saved hundreds of thousands of men from a future of baldness, without the help of any other treatments at all.  These men are fortunate, because they have an entire arsenal of treatments to add if or when Propecia ever stops working for them.

Pathology of male pattern hair loss

Androgen-dependent skin conditions, such as male pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia, AGA) and acne, are among the dermatologic conditions most frequently encountered by the specialist and the general physician.  AGA is the commonest form of human alopecia, affecting more than 50% of men by the age of 50 years, and a smaller but still significant proportion of women by the same age.  Historically, the clinical management of AGA has been limited to the psychologic support of the client, and the use of cosmetics that thicken the remaining hair, or make the scalp less conspicuous.  Hair systems (swatches, weaves, and wigs), and surgical procedures including punch grafts, follicular unit transplantation, and flap surgery are also widely used.  In recent years however, drug therapy has increasingly become a realistic management option, as our understanding of the mechanisms of normal and pathologic hair growth has pointed the way to improved treatments.

The changes that occur in the distribution of scalp hair as AGA progresses follow a course that has been well documented in both sexes, as have the changes in the scalp and scalp hair that are commonly found to occur in male pattern hair loss.  The most important recent development in our understanding is the recognition that androgens play a central role in the development of AGA.  It has been observed that castrated men do not exhibit AGA; however, if they are given exogenous androgens, they will reversibly show signs of hair loss.  Several recent lines of evidence implicated DHT, a metabolite of testosterone, as the active metabolite in AGA.  The enzyme responsible for the conversion of testosterone to DHT is 5a-reductase.

Psychology of hair loss, prevention, and regrowth

Hair forms a vital element of an individual's physical appearance, and changes in the hair, including its loss, can have correspondingly profound effects on interpersonal reactions and on self image.  Studies that have specifically addressed the psychosocial impact of hair loss in men have shown that men with visible hair loss are perceived as older, weaker, and less physically attractive than their nonbalding counterparts.  Not surprisingly, such adverse social stereotyping of individuals with hair loss has a considerable impact on the self image, and therefore on the quality of life, of men with AGA.  Studies confirm that the negative self-perception of hair loss by others is reflected in the psychologic responses of balding men to their own condition.  Using standard psychologic tests, men with AGA report experiencing distress about their hair loss, feeling less physically attractive, and having greater body image dissatisfaction than their nonbalding peers.

Given that many men are strongly motivated to seek help with their AGA, the treatment objectives may variously include the prevention of further hair loss, the maintenance of existing hair, the regrowth and retention of lost hair, or any combination of the three.' In most cases, however, prevention and maintenance are the most realistic therapeutic options. In this context, it must be recognized that there is frequently a disparity between what the physician assumes are the patient's needs or requirements, and what the patient actually expects. Although there is a lack of rigorous scientific studies of men's attitudes towards regrowth of their lost hair as compared to the prevention of further hair loss, some indications are available in the literature. For example, in a study in which men with AGA completed the Hair Loss Effects Questionnaire (HLEQ), a high proportion gave responses that were directed towards a future rather than a present state: 93% worried about how much hair they would lose, 87% reported trying to estimate if they were losing more hair, and 8o% tried to imagine how they would look with more hair loss Cash" has also reported that balding men who anticipated more hair loss in the future experienced significantly greater negative events and cognitive preoccupation, and were also less satisfied with their hair and overall appearance than men who anticipated minimal future hair loss.

Some anecdotal evidence, based on market research among 2200 men with at least some degree of hair loss, strongly supports the importance of prevention rather than regrowth to the patient. Thus, when asked directly whether they were more concerned about the amount of hair they currently had (i.e. regrowth) or the rate at which they were losing it (i.e. prevention), most respondents (61%) were equally concerned about the two; of those expressing a greater concern for one or the other, two-thirds were more concerned with prevention and one-third with regrowth. Although the ideal for most of the men involved in this research would clearly be a hair treatment that produced both regrowth and prevention, slightly more respondents thought that prevention (43%) rather than regrowth (34%) was essential in a hair loss treatment.

Therefore, it seems that many men are more anxious to prevent further hair loss in the future than they are to regrow the hair they have already lost. Nonetheless, physicians may incorrectly believe that the patient will only be satisfied with overt regrowth, when in fact he would be content with retaining his remaining hair. This is an important point because secondary prevention, that is the prevention of further loss, is currently a more realistic treatment goal for the physician to offer. This is demonstrated by the drug treatments that have been or are now available.

Drug treatments: Minoxidil

The antihypertensive drug minoxidil was shown in the early 1980's to stimulate new hair growth, and was eventually approved as a topical treatment for AGA in men and women. Minoxidil is known to act as an opener of potassium channels, but the mechanism by which it exerts its effect on hair is unclear, as it is a vasodilator with no known antiandrogenic activity. It appears to convert vellus to terminal hairs, to normalize the hair follicular morphology, and to increase the number of follicles in mid to late anagen, the growth phase of the hair cycle Multicenter clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of minoxidil in AGA: in most patients treated with topical minoxidil 2% or 3% for 12 months, mean hair counts increased, and in some patients hair counts continued to increase for some time afterwards. 19-3 

Topical minoxidil 2% nevertheless has only limited success and the individual response is highly variable. Recent clinical trials with topical minoxidil 5% have shown promising results: in one study, 54% of treated patients showed an increase in hair counts, compared to 29 % of patients on placebo.

Minoxidil has not been approved for systemic use because of potentially serious side-effects, notably cardiovascular, due to its antihypertensive action, and because extraneous hair growth has occasionally been seen even with topically applied minoxidil thought to be due to absorption and systemic action.

Furthermore, as discussed earlier, the majority of men appear to be more concerned with prevention of further hair loss than with regrowth: Minoxidil has not shown any preventive activity, and its ability in the long term to retain new growth against a background of genetically associated hair loss has not been demonstrated.

Drug treatments: manipulating androgen metabolism to retard male pattern hair loss

The most promising treatments modulate the metabolism of androgens in the scalp. Currently, only one pharmaceutical is available to the physician for the treatment of men with AGA. Finasteride (Propecia) is a potent, specific inhibitor of the type 2 5a-reductase that is responsible for the conversion of testosterone to DHT. Given orally, Finasteride reduces DHT levels systemically and in the target tissues (i.e. scalp). In an animal model of AGA, the stump-tailed macaque, daily oral Finasteride given over a period of 6 months significantly reduced circulating DHT levels and increased scalp hair weight. 8 Finasteride at a dosage of 1 mg/day has recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of male pattern hair loss in men. Its efficacy has been demonstrated in three double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized studies. Men with AGA, aged between 18 and 41 years, were given either oral Finasteride 1 mg/day or a placebo. Assessed by scalp hair counts, self-assessment by patients using a validated questionnaire, investigator assessment using a standardized seven-point rating scale of hair growth from baseline, and an independent expert review of photographs taken every 6 months, Finasteride treatment was evaluated as resulting in improvement. Finasteride produced a progressive increase in hair counts at 6, 12 and 24 months, while placebo treatment resulted in significant hair loss. By 24 months, 72% of patients on placebo had lost hair compared to baseline, while 83% of patients on Finasteride had experienced no further hair loss. Similarly, at 14 months, the expert panel considered 66% of Finasteride-treated patients greatly, moderately, or slightly improved vs. only 7% of those on placebo. There was little difference in the incidence of side-effects reported by men on Finasteride (4.2%) vs. placebo (2.2%) which resolved after discontinuation and in many of the men who remained on drug treatment.

These results are in line with our current understanding of the effect of DHT on hair physiology. Although, as mentioned previously, the molecular details of the mechanism by which androgens affect hair growth are not known, it is apparent that, in the androgen-sensitive scalp of genetically susceptible individuals, they cause a gradual miniaturization of the follicles and conversion of long, thick pigmented terminal hair to short, fine, unpigmented vellus hair. Prevention of the androgen-mediated miniaturization will inhibit or retard the process leading to hair loss, and in some cases result in new hair growth. Furthermore, there is demonstrable heterogeneity in 5a-reductase activity in scalp hair roots from patients with AGA, which may account for some of the variation in response to Finasteride.


The likelihood is that the modulation of androgen metabolism will prevent further hair loss in the majority of patients, and induce hair growth in a smaller proportion, depending on the extent of their condition and their genetic background. It is vital therefore for the prescribing physician to bear in mind that the patient may suffer anxiety over the possible progression of hair loss in the future, while being able to tolerate his present condition. For many patients, prevention of further hair loss alone will constitute acceptable management. For the physician, the important message is that the best therapeutic prospects lie in drug modalities that utilize our increased understanding of normal and pathologic hair growth. Although topical minoxidil was the first effective drug to benefit some of these patients, targeting of type 2 5a-reductase in the scalp hair follicle using oral Finasteride is now a realistic option for the prevention of further hair loss in the patient with male pattern baldness.

Marcia Ramos-e-Silva, MD, PhD
International Journal of Dermatology

Women's Hair Loss Site Recognized by AAD
The Women's Institute for Fine and Thinning Hair Sponsored by Rogaine will be recognized by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) today at the 5th Annual Gold Triangle Awards in New York City. The Gold Triangle hallmarks the strides the Women's Institute has taken to increase awareness of hair loss as a public health issue. 

Nearly 30 million women in the United States -- or one in four -- experience hereditary hair thinning, the most common form of hair loss. Fifty percent of women will experience some degree of hair thinning by age 50. Almost 40 percent of women with hair thinning never expect it to happen to them, according to research. 

The Gold Triangle Award honors communications campaigns that further the understanding of dermatological issues and encourage healthy behavior in the care of skin, hair and nails. 

"On behalf of the Institute, it is an honor to receive such a prestigious award from the AAD," said Terrence L. Stecz, President, Pharmacia Consumer Healthcare -- North America. "We would like to thank the AAD for acknowledging the importance of female hair loss and hope this award will inspire more women to seek expert advice from the Institute." 

The Women's Institute provides women of all ages with a steady stream of information and advice that will help them deal with the physical, emotional, and social realities of hair thinning. The Institute is a forum where women can self-assess their propensity for hair thinning, obtain news about the latest studies and remedies, and share personal experiences with others. 

Founded in February 2000, the Women's Institute is an avenue for the exchange of knowledge and information on the prevalence of women's hair thinning, its causes and treatments, styling options, and coping techniques. Since its inception, the Institute has educated millions of women on fine, thin, and thinning hair through its Web site, toll-free number, news reports, and personal appearances by advisory board members. 

The Institute is directed by a wealth of experts in the fields of dermatology, psychology, and hair styling. 

-- Zoe Draelos, M.D., founder of Dermatology Consulting Services in High Point, North Carolina 

-- Lorna Thomas, M.D., board-certified dermatologist with a private practice in Detroit, Michigan 

-- Peggy Elam, Ph.D., licensed psychologist and health service provider in Nashville, Tennessee 

-- Ellen Rubin, Psy.D, practicing psychologist and clinical instructor at the New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 

-- Robert Cromeans, Artistic Director for John Paul Mitchell Systems, San Diego, California 

-- John Atchison, John Atchison Salon in New York, New York and Los Angeles, California 

-- Justine Beech, Director of Color for Gavert Atelier hair salon, Los Angeles, California 

-- Jose Valdez, stylist with Eiji Salon in New York, New York 

In the coming months, the Institute will add an OB/GYN to its board as 54 percent of women consider their OB/GYN as their primary care physician. This addition will open new channels of communication for women to discuss this issue. 

More information about women's hair loss is available by calling the Women's Institute For Fine and Thinning Hair Sponsored by Rogaine toll-free at 877-554-HAIR.   The site can be accessed at

About hair thinning and loss in women 

Hereditary hair thinning involves a miniaturization process, causing hair follicles to become smaller and reducing the time period in which they can grow. Since the hair is unable to complete the full growth cycle, the follicle produces thinner, shorter, and less pigmented hair. 

Although it has been traditionally considered part of the male's aging process, hair loss affects women too, although somewhat differently. Women generally experience diffuse thinning over the entire top of the head, which can be difficult to detect. Men typically develop "bald spots" and/or a receding hairline. 

A Bald-Faced Truth

Editorial written by an 18 year old on the perils of experiencing hair loss at a young age.  We were so impressed with this article that we included it in our Newsletter this month.  When you have 15 free minutes of uninterrupted time, check it out.  For some of you, "I know exactly what he's talking about!" will be on the tip of your tongue the entire time...

Rejection from girls "...girls [in high school] tended to be suspicious of guys who might treat them with dignity, and instead opted for apes in basketball jerseys.  I'll just wait til college where the girls will be more mature and will go out with someone who won't slap them around.  Just as I started to meet girls with a modicum of self-respect, the shower drain started clogging up with my fleeing hair." 

The unpleasant emergency first-time visit to the nearest hair transplant office which sheer panic has lead many of us to  "The office was in a classy old building...but that is where the character ended. It had all the charm of a metal detector.  I was accosted by a woman in a power suit....she outlined the progression of my hair loss with a neon yellow highlighter. It was so bizarre that it had to be the way things were done in a new and cruel world beyond my understanding...."

The desperation which followed  "I walked away from the office on the verge of tears. I had not only been humiliated, but there appeared to be no hope for my ailing hair. I had felt helpless many times in my life up until that point but I don't think I ever truly knew the meaning of the word until that walk home."

The ensuing decision to give in rather than fight is recounted articulately and with an off-tone humor that makes reading it a bittersweet experience.  We know many of our users are in the 18 to 25 age range, and despite its length, this article, written for an online "Zine" web site, will be well worth the time and effort to read.

June Hair Loss Conference - Tokyo Japan

The Third Intercontinental Meeting of Hair Research Societies will be occurring June 13th - 15th in Tokyo Japan.  Researchers from all over the world will be gathering at the Four Seasons Hotel Chinzan-So in Tokyo to present the findings of over 170 different hair loss related research studies and abstracts.  This meeting represents the largest triennial gathering of hair societies in the new millenium, and provides a unique opportunity for scientists and clinicians interested in hair biology and disorders to exchange information, compare study results, and interact.   

The keynote lecturers will be Dr. M.J. McPhaul and Dr. I. Satokata.  The scientific organizing committee, with Dr. S. Takayasu as the chair, has prepared four workshops for the different fields and two luncheon seminars on androgenetic alopecia. The workshops will provide the many researchers present with updated information on the hair cycle, stem cells and morphological and molecular biological approaches. The many abstracts submitted by the researchers planning to attend were reviewed by a committed of 10, and separated based upon categories of plenary, concurrent and poster presentations according to the scores they received from the ten reviewers. To encourage the participation of promising young scientists, travel awards were set aside for twelve people.

Each speaker will present their findings for 20 minutes, followed by open discussion.  Posters will be exhibited throughout the meeting in order to provide enough time for reading and discussion. During the meeting, referees will score both the oral and poster presentations, while selected papers from the plenary, concurrent and poster sessions will be awarded and published later in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings. 

This conference was funded in part by the North American Hair Research Society, the European Hair Research Society, the Australian Hair and Wool Research Society and numerous domestic and foreign pharmaceutical companies.  

HairlossSucks has all the abstracts and all the conclusions right here for you.  Don't miss this . . .


Women's Hair Loss Symposium

First Annual Medical and Scientific Symposium 

Wednesday Evening, June 6, 2001 7:00 –9:00 p.m.
16 East 60th Street (between 5th and Madison) Eastside Conference Center
RSVP: 212-305-3900

It is estimated that nearly 30 million women in the United States have some form of hair loss. Yet, until recently, the subject of female hair loss has been rarely addressed. Please join the Partnership for Women’s Health at Columbia University and the Department of Dermatology for a symposium addressing medical and scientific aspects of female hair loss. 

Join Lissa Rosenthal, Director of Hair Aware: Organization for Women's Hair Loss, Inc. as she participates in the first annual Medical and Scientific Symposium on Female Hair Loss at Columbia University Eastside Conference Center. The conference will educate attendees about the medical impacts that female hair loss has on society today. 

The conference will address treatment options, female hormones, and current medical research in the field. Please join us at the: 


Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons Department of Dermatology
The Partnership for Women’s Health at Columbia University


Opening Remarks
Dr. David Bickers
Chairman, Department of Dermatology
Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons

Introduction to Gender-Specific Medicine
Dr. Marianne Legato
Founder & Director, Partnership for Women’s Health at Columbia University
Professor of Clinical Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons

Overview of Female Hair Loss
Dr. Sheryl Miller
Assistant Attending Dermatologist, Weill Cornell Center of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

Hair Loss and Hormones
Dr. Michelle Warren
Wyeth-Ayerst Professor of Women’s Health at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center
Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons
Partnership for Women’s Health Scholar

Treatment Options for Female Hair Loss
Dr. Monica Peacocke
Professor of Clinical Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons

Research in Female Hair Loss
Dr. Angela M. Christiano
Associate Professor of Dermatology and Genetics & Development,
Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons
Partnership for Women’s Health Scholar

Resources for Female Hair Loss
Lissa Rosenthal
Executive Director, Hair Aware

Speakers Will Include

* Dr. Marianne Legato, Professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and Founder and Director of the Partnership for Women's Health at Columbia University. Dr Legato will give an introduction to gender-specific medicine. 

* Dr. Monica Peacocke, Professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. Dr. Peacocke who will speak on treatment options for female hair loss. 

* Dr. Angela Christiano, Associate Professor of Dermatology and of Genetics & Development at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. Dr. Christiano will talk about research in female hair loss and will introduce Lissa Rosenthal, who will discuss resources available women with hair loss. 

Photo and interview opportunities will be available with all of the speakers. The symposium is sponsored by the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons Department of Dermatology and the Partnership for Women's Health at Columbia University. 

Hair - Why it Grows, Why it Stops

One of our loyal users known as "Trey" was kind enough to allow us to post this information on an article found in the latest issue of Scientific American (June 2001).  We strongly suggest you pick up a copy yourself so that you can review the entire thing uninterrupted.  The "clippings" below should give some peeks into the latest discoveries and insights in the medical community regarding the understanding of hair loss and hair growth.  Enjoy ...


The best news to me was that it played up on the fact that the follicles never die as once believed, but rather shrink and stay in the dormant stage. Also it's interesting to see the research that is being done on these various stages and how all of this ties in to the original formation of the follicles in an embryo. Also the tone of the article is positive regarding future treatments and the attitudes of those who are currently researching this (as you will see).

For those of you who are new to hair loss research some of this might sound like Greek, but many of you will understand exactly what is being said here. These quotes are taken from various parts of the article, and I divided the quotes into three main categories (Follicles Don't Die; Research Highlights; The Outlook)

~ Trey


The (MPB) Follicle Doesn't Die:

"The good biological news is that in the most common types of thinning, hair follicles don't die. In classic male- and female-pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia), for instance, follicles become miniaturized and their growing phase abbreviated; they then produce extremely short, fine hairs. 'Even guys who are bald still have little hairs on the top of their head,' explains Bruce. A Morgan of Harvard's Cutaneous Biology Research Center." (MS) p. 76

"Hair thinning generally happens not because follicles disappear, but because the ratio of follicles in the growing and non-growing phases shifts unfavorably. Also, many follicles in balding people shrink progressively, ultimately producing only small, colorless hairs." p. 74

"Baldness often arises not because follicles die but because they shrink and malfunction. Drugs that manipulate Wnts or other regulatory proteins might one day protect threatened follicles and prod shrunken ones into producing hair normally again." p. 72

"Last year Ronald G. Crystal of Weill Medical College of Cornell University found that when hair follicles in adult mice are induced to make the protein during the resting, telogen stage, the follicles shift prematurely into the hair-producing, anagen stage. Thus, sonic hedgehog can stimulate dormant follicles to begin producing hair." p. 79

"As researchers become more sophisticated in their knowledge of the molecular interactions underlying hair growth, they can begin animal testing of compounds that might restore order to deranged regulatory pathways and revive dormant follicles." p. 79

Research Highlights:

"To trace the molecular controls over any given process, scientists first need to know the basic outlines of the process itself. By 1995 microscopists and others had developed a good sketch of the incredible steps that lead to the formation of hair follicles in the developing embryo. They had also described the hair cycle -- the periodic phases during which follicles produce or stop producing hair; follicles undergo this cycle repeatedly in a lifetime." p. 72

"Anagen follows telogen. Early on some of the stem cells from the bulge divide and travel down along the basement membrane to become matrix or outer root sheath cells. Once formed, the matrix cells proliferate and ultimately give rise to the hair cells and the inner root sheath, repeating the steps that occur during the embryonic development. This repetition implies that the events of anagen are probably controlled by a number of the same signaling molecules that operate during development." p. 74

"As is true during follicle development in the embryo, during the anagen signals from the dermal papilla instruct the matrix cells to divide and  subsequently differentiate into hair cells. For this reason, scientists have become very interested in uncovering the nature of the signals issued  by the dermal papilla during development and cycling. They don't have the answer yet, but in the past few years Elaine Fuchs and her colleagues at the University of Chicago have discovered that the dermal papilla's signals probably convey their directives largely by activating still other signaling molecules -- members of the Wnt family of proteins. Wnt proteins have long been recognized as key regulators of varied developmental processes in mammals and other organisms." p. 74-75

"Fuchs began her search for the molecules that dictate the conversion of matrix cells to hair cells by trying to identify the molecules in the  nucleus that switch on the hair keratin genes. In 1995 her group discovered that a regulatory protein called lymphocyte enhancer factor 1 (LEF1) participated in activating the hair keratin genes. It was also present during hair follicle formation in the embryo, where it appeared in the earliest clusters of ectoderm cells as well as in the cells destined to form the dermal papilla." p. 75

"...without LEF1, mice fail to make a furry coat. And when Fuchs's team engineered mice that produced excess LEF1 in the skin, the animals produced more hair follicles than normal." p. 75 (you've all read that online article, I'm sure -- -- Trey)

"LEF1 cannot activate genes on its own; rather it must first couple with a second protein, beta-catenin. The only mechanism known to trigger this coupling was the activation of the signaling cascade that begins with the binding of a Wnt molecule to the cell surface. Beta-catenin normally helps to form junctions with neighboring cells. In the absence of Wnt signaling, an enzyme inside the cells marks any unused beta catenin for destruction. Wnts instruct cells to handcuff that enzyme. With the enzyme out of  commission, beta-catenin becomes free to accumulate and to pair with LEF1 or one of its relatives." p. 75

"Those experiments implied that Wnt is the mesoderm-issued signal that instructs the overlying ectoderm to begin forming an appendage and is 
likewise the ectodermal signal that tells the underlying mesoderm to form the dermal papilla. What is more, much later in development, after 
follicles have formed, Wnt appears to be the message that directs matrix cells above the dermal papilla to differentiate into hair cells." p. 76

"As adults, these rodents [mentioned earlier -- Trey] acquired an unusually lush coat by forming new follicles between the ones that were laid down during the embryonic development... As the furry rodents aged, they acquired benign lumps that resembled a common human scalp tumor called pilomatricoma. Fuchs's laboratory subsequently demonstrated that in humans these tumors arise when a mutation in the beta-catenin gene prevents the protein's breakdown." p. 77

"Wnts are major regulators of follicle development and cycling but...simply delivering Wnts by constant application would not be feasible as a human therapy, because of the tumor risk. The trick to correcting hair maladies, Fuchs contends, may be to deliver Wnts in a pattern that mimics nature better or to manipulate other steps in the Wnt signaling cascade." p. 78

[If other tests go well...] "...human scalp skin can be transplanted onto mice incapable of rejecting it to determine whether human and mouse  follicles respond comparably to the agents. And if those results are good, investigators may attempt human trials of the most promising drug  candidates." p. 79

The Outlook:

"'We don't have a product yet that's going to be 'wow!' for over 50 percent of people she [Marty Sawaya] notes. I do think dutasteride will be that  product if the company goes forward.'...GlaxoSmithKline may choose to pursue it first as a prostate drug, as happened with finasteride." p. 77 (MS)

"Scientists are on the prowl for new drugs all the time....Michael Detmar discovered earlier this year that abundant amounts of a growth factor that increases the blood supply make mice grow hair faster and thicker. Now...the hunt is on for small molecules that will either mimic or activate the factor." p. 77 (MS)

"A fundamental understanding of hair biology may someday let physicians replace a defective gene in hair follicles through gene therapy or grow 
hairs in a petri dish for use in graft surgery. 'The complexity of the question is like understanding how a limb forms. It's ambitious. But we are discovering a lot and discovering a lot quickly,' muses Kurt S. Stenn, chief scientific officer of Juvenir Biosciences, a company recently spun off  from Johnson & Johnson to focus predominantly on hair research. 'This is a wonderful time to be working in hair biology. So many breakthroughs are coming.'" p. 77 (MS)

"No one can predict how soon dermatologists and pharmaceutical companies will be able to produce new therapies built on the discoveries emerging from basic research into hair follicle development and cycling. But that research is progressing remarkably fast. If the pace continues, Fuchs predicts, much of the information that is needed to understand the complex controls on hair manufacture will probably be in hand within the next five years." p. 79


Fuchs is the fourth scientist that I'm aware of who has mentioned a five year time frame (Gho [HM], Christiano [gene therapy], and Daly [stem cell] being the other three). Let's hope at least ONE of them is right. Also Kurt Stenn, mentioned above, was the man in charge of that site that we found that's looking for the MPB gene(s) By the way, I thought this page was somewhere on HairlossSucks.  I looked for it and can't find it any more. BTW, I think that link and any other link to these researchers should be on all of the hair loss sites -- the more volunteers the better.



Lasers for Hair Growth?

An estimated 60 million Americans suffer through various stages of hair-loss. Many people turn to gels, lotions, pills and even surgery to correct the problem, but there may be a new help on the hair loss horizon. 

Dermatologists have begun using a laser brush to restore hair growth to people losing their hair. The brush uses a low level cold beam to stimulate hair follicles and increase blood flow. Patient Michael Caplan turned to the laser brush after he noticed that more of his hair was in the bathroom sink instead of on his head. "I started losing my hair when was 40 and then Dr. Steinberg suggested that I try the comb," Caplan said. "What have I got to lose?" 

Dr. Janee Steinburg began using the brush on her patients and said that it can be used to augment other methods. "I'm not fully endorsing this as a way to grow a whole new head of hair," Steinburg said. "I would find it difficult to believe that something would be almost too good to be true, but I think as an adjunct to other treatment modalities and perhaps even to just hold on to what you have, it may be a great way to go." 

Lexington International, the company that makes the comb, said that people who use the comb for five minutes, twice a week should see results in three months or less. Company spokesman David Michaels said that similar low level lasers have been used in Europe for years.

"This type of laser has been used around the world for approximately 30 years especially in Europe, Japan and Australia; to date there has been no reported side effects," Michaels said. Dr. Alan Bauman said that he is unsure if the comb will work. "I am skeptical," Bauman said. "I'm a scientist and I just don't adopt things and insert them into my practice unless I feel confident that they're going to work." 

The company claims that the The Food and Drug Administration has approved the brush for cosmetic use. (Not to be confused with approval for hair growth)

David Michaels of Lexington International tells us that they are planning to work with the FDA on conducting medical trials in the future. 

The brush runs $645. It should be noted that this is nearly $300 off its original price.

If you are interested in receiving more information on the laser brush, please email us at

ETG Prevents Chemotherapy Induced Hair Loss

Current Technology Corporation (OTC Bulletin Board: CRTCF) today announced that Dr. Tim Meakin has presented preliminary results in Auckland, New Zealand, from a single center pilot clinical trial to assess the efficacy of the ETG (Electrotrichogenesis) device in the prevention or reduction of hair loss in patients with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy. 

Dr. Meakin reported that thirteen women completed the study. Twelve of the thirteen had the same amount of hair or an increase in the amount of hair at the conclusion of their chemotherapy regimen when compared to baseline. All of the women were diagnosed with breast cancer, treated with CMF chemotherapy over approximately 24 weeks, and received concurrent ETG treatments. 

CMF is a combination of the chemotherapy agents Cyclophosphamide, Methotrexate and Fluorouracil (5FU). This combination is a chemotherapy regime frequently prescribed in New Zealand, the United States and many other countries. Alopecia (hair loss) as a result of cancer chemotherapy is a major source of negative changes to self-concept and body image and one of the side effects to chemotherapy people fear most. 

Therefore, in addition to assessing hair quantity, quality of life was assessed in this clinical study. All of the women reported that ETG treatments to prevent or reduce chemotherapy induced hair loss, assisted them maintain their sense of well being, and self-esteem. 

A full report on the pilot clinical study has been submitted to the medical literature for publication. 

Current Technology Corporation is the developer of ETG (Electrotrichogenesis), a patented electrotherapeutic device that provides a clinically proven medical treatment for hair loss, in suitable candidates both male and female. ETG treatments are presently available in several countries around the world. 

Company Plans to Further Develop Hair Growth Stimulant 

Bioenvision Forms Animal Healthcare Division to Further Develop Dramatic Hair Recovery Treatment

Bioenvision Inc., (OTC BB:BIOV) today announced the formation of a separate wholly-owned division for the development and distribution of Modrastane, a drug meant for treatment of Cushing's disease in dogs and horses which also demonstrated an ability to induce hair growth in dogs with "Alopecia X", a condition that causes hair loss in dogs which has been compared to the Male Pattern Baldness seen in humans.

The Company's efforts to date have focused on the treatment of human disease, mainly cancer, but ongoing studies in the veterinary field have shown efficacy in several animal disorders and Bioenvision wishes to take advantage of this lucrative market. The product has received a veterinary license in the UK and Bioenvision is hopeful of an early meeting with the FDA to seek an animal license to market and promote the drug in the USA. 

The results of a trial of Modrastane in alopecia X were presented recently at the American Association of Veterinary Diseases in Norfolk, Virginia. Eleven dogs with alopecia X were given 10 mg/kg Modrastane once per day for three months. In 9 of the 11 dogs there was progressive hair regrowth and fading of the skin hyperpigmentation within two months of starting therapy. A further dog showed hair re-growth on continued treatment after the trial period. 

Bioenvision President & CEO Chris Wood commented, "The finding that Modrastane also treats alopecia X is exciting and has convinced us to go into the veterinary market. The division hopes to commence sales in the fourth quarter of 2001 and compete in a market place with the animal health divisions of Pfizer (PFE), Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY), and Eli Lilly (LLY). Each of these companies has annual animal healthcare sales well in excess of $500 million." 

Bioenvision is a development-stage biopharmaceutical company primarily engaged in the development of products and technologies for the treatment of cancer. It has acquired development, manufacturing and marketing rights to four platform technologies from which a range of products have been derived and from which it anticipates developing additional products in the future. 


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