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Tuesday, 22 March 2016 17:17

New Treatment for Hair Loss

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Researchers at New York University are testing a cure for male pattern baldness - and it turns out the answer has been in our bodies all along.

According to Mail Online, a study at the university is looking into the propensity of human blood to halt androgenic alopecia - male pattern baldness - by injecting a gel infused with blood directly into the scalp.

If you're balding, is shaving your head the only option?

If that sounds a little hair-brained, there's good scientific theory to back up research into the area. Our blood contains platelets - small particles of blood cells produced by bone marrow - that are used to help heal wounds and stem excessive bleeding. By taking blood from the body and spinning it in a centrifuge, doctors hope to separate the fluid into its various components, extract platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and use this to stimulate the follicles of the scalp.

PRP is already used in medicine to treat tendon injuries and burns, as it contains and releases several different proteins, steroid hormones and cytokines that stimulate the healing of bone and soft tissue.

And there's a chance these healing capabilities could be replicated with our hair. Theoretically, the PRP will increase the supply of blood and nutrients to the follicles, which will in turn stimulate the scalp and result in an increase in hair growth.

By the time most men have reached their early 60s, they tend to show some signs of baldness. However, androgenic alopecia can begin at virtually any age from late teens onwards: research has shown that around one third of 30-year olds suffer from the condition, with that rising to half of all 50-year-old men.


PRP Hair Loss

In recent years, a boom in costly hair transplants has led researchers to concentrate on finding lower cost alternatives to preventing baldness. With a new 'miracle cure' seemingly revealed every month, might platelet injections represent a collective grasping at straws?

Jonny Harris, Managing Director of the Belgravia Centre, suggests so.

"It'll be very interesting to see what they conclude from this forthcoming study," says Harris. "You see so many different possible breakthroughs - one every couple of months - that at the moment it's hard to speculate on the viability of the treatment.

"However, I imagine that it will have to be very time consuming to rely on PRP therapy as the sole treatment for baldness. Blood passes through cells very quickly, so one injection every month, or even every week, just won't do the job.

"One of the main medications used at the moment to fight hair loss is Minoxidil," Harris continues, "and that works in a similar way to what this trial is proposing. By opening up the potassium channels, Minoxidil allows for better blow flow on the scalp, and this promotes increased hair growth.

"But there will have been thousands of subjects in trials for that treatment, a much larger testing base than for this study."


Indeed, only 50 patients suffering from androgenic alopecia will be injected with either the PRP-infused gel or a placebo in the New York trial. And as Harris identifies, even if PRP therapy does show promise, it will still be a long time and many medical trials away from becoming a mainstream treatment for baldness.


Learn More about PRP Therapy for Hair Loss at Modern Male


Read 1637 times Last modified on Wednesday, 19 October 2016 18:54