Male Female Thin Hair

Is Male Female Pattern Baldness
 Related To Stress?

     In a recent study conducted by scientists at UCLA and the Veterans Administration it was shown that hair growth could once again be induced by reducing certain stress hormones. In this case though it was demonstrated in mice so thatís a far jump to a human being. The results were stumbled upon quite by accident when the researchers were studying the effects of anxiety upon the gastro-intestinal track.

     To add a little more detail the researchers were conducting studies of the brain-gut reaction in mice that were genetically altered to overproduce the stress hormone called corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF). Basically the test group of mice when compared to the control group experienced a loss of hair on their back as a result of increasing the production of this hormone. Typically when both groups of mice age normally they experience similar patterns of hair loss but it was accelerated in the test group by altering the genes. At that point to observe the effects upon the gastrointestinal track of the test mice they were injected with a chemical compound developed by the Salk Institute known as astressin-B. It was hoped that this peptide would block the effects of CRF in the tested mice. The injected mice were then placed back in the same holding areas as the mice that had hair.

     To simplify the final results, three months later, much to the researchers surprise they could not tell the two groups apart. The mice that had been tested now had full coats of hair similar to the untested mice. The effects of the CRF had been reversed. Similar studies were able to replicate the results. It was indeed amazing that just five daily injections done once every four months had allowed these mice to regain and keep the hair they had lost. Furthermore minoxidil was tested on some of the mice, who had experienced the hair loss, and it was far less beneficial than the peptide compound.

     Even though this study is exceedingly interesting it calls into question whether we want to be suppressing stress hormones produced by the human body to begin with. Plus since the mice were genetically altered to suppress these hormones that certainly is not an available option in humans. What can be drawn from these studies though is that the causes of androgenetic alopecia can be multiple in origin and the cause and cure for it may be totally different things.

     As to whether stress as a whole does cause hair loss it is documented that certain forms of alopecia do have an association with stressful situations and the very hormones experimented with in the UCLA study would likewise increase with these events. Plus it was noted by separate researchers in the early testing of minoxidil that even minute levels of stress can trigger hair loss.

     As examples of hair loss related to stress there are three forms of alopecia that have already been identified as having a connection to it. They are alopecia areata, the telogen effluviums, and trichotillomania. In the case of the areatas even though stress has been identified as one of the triggers for hair loss the disease does not confine itself to this one factor alone. In fact there may be no emotional components involved whatsoever. Likewise with the effluviums stress does tend to be a precipitating issue and it may be a clearly identifiable issue but there are many cases where it is not. Finally in regard to trichotillomania the loss of hair is based almost entirely upon stress where the sufferer develops an uncontrollable urge to pluck hairs from the scalp or any other part of the body.

     As for treatment of the three commented on forms of alopecia anti-anxiety drugs and anti-depressants have proved beneficial for the effluviums and trichotillomania. In the case of the effluviums many times just the removal of the agitating or self-limiting event such as pregnancy can lead to a recovery. With any form of the areatas the most beneficial medication has been minoxidil.

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For years it has been speculated that stress plays a much greater role in androgenetic alopecia or genetic hair loss than once was imagined. As studies are now beginning to reveal DHT may not be the lone culprit in explaining the presence of male pattern baldness or female hair loss. As we thoroughly point in our hair loss book there is ample evidence that thinning hair has its origins in multiple factors and we present a variety of inexpensive options, remedies, and treatments to restore you crowning glory to its previous if not better state.

 

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