Monday, April 2, 2012

Types of Hair Loss and Treatment

Types of Hair Loss and TreatmentTypes of Hair Loss and Treatment

Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is the most common form of hair loss in men, and female pattern hair loss (FPHL) is the most common form of hair loss in women. Traditional methods of treating hair loss have included minoxidil, finasteride, and surgical transplantation. Currently there is a myriad of new and experimental treatments. In addition, low-level light therapy (LLLT) has recently been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of hair loss. There are several theories and minimal clinical evidence of the safety and efficacy of LLLT, although most experts agree that it is safe. More in vitro studies are necessary to elucidate the mechanism and effectiveness at the cellular level, and more controlled studies are necessary to assess the role of this new treatment in the general population.

Types and Epidemiology of Hair Loss

Types of Hair Loss and TreatmentMale pattern hair loss (MPHL), also known as androgenetic alopecia (AGA), is the most common form of hair loss in men. Similarly, female pattern hair loss (FPHL) is the most common form of hair loss in women The incidence and prevalence of MPHL is dependent on age and race. Chinese, Japanese, and African American people are affected less than Caucasians. Its incidence increases by age. Prevalence values have variable ranges from 16–96%, depending on the age group and whether or not mild forms of MPHL are included Prevalence values for FPHL are comparable to MPHL  The severity of MPHL is based on the Norwood Hamilton Classification, which takes into account bitemporal and vertex hair loss  FPHL is evaluated based on the Ludwig scale, which ranges from  These classification systems differ based on the fact that hair loss and thinning in men most commonly occurs in an orderly fashion and involves the temporal and vertex region while sparing the occipital region; diffuse thinning and loss of density with a normal distribution and maintenance of the frontal hairline is often seen in women.

Low-level Light Therapy

Types of Hair Loss and TreatmentIn 2007, low-level light therapy (LLLT) was approved by the FDA as a treatment for hair loss LLLT is also known as low level laser therapy, red light therapy, cold laser, soft laser, biostimulation, and photobiomodulation.Most experts agree that LLLT is safe for the treatment of hair loss, but more studies are needed to confirm its therapeutic effects.  LLLT was discovered in the 1960s and first used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to accelerate wound healing in space Since then, LLLT has been used to reduce neurogenic pain, reduce inflammation, and promote wound healing Other uses include nonmelanoma skin cancer and its precursors, acne vulgaris, photorejuvenation, hidradenitis suppurativa, and psoriasis It may also prove helpful in killing bacteria, fungi, and viruses. LLLT has also been used to achieve attenuation of retinal toxicity in methanol-poisoned rats The role of LLLT in hair growth was discovered accidentally in 1967.  In an attempt to test if LLLT causes cancer in shaved mice, researchers discovered that these mice did not develop cancer, but instead grew hair. Before describing the mechanisms of LLLT, a brief discourse into its terminology will be taken. The term "laser" refers to the fact that monochromatic light is used  This is in contrast to light emitting diode (LED). The term "low level" alludes to the fact there is a specific wavelength of light that has optimal therapeutic effects, and any level higher or lower than this may not be proficient This therapeutic window ranges roughly from 600 to less than 1,400 nm, and is close to the absorption spectrum of hemoglobin and water, respectively. Furthermore, respiratory chain components (mainly cytochrome c) have a similar absorption spectrum.This low level results in a negligible change in tissue.

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