The Latest Developments in Hair Restoration Treatments

At The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, we have always been committed to seeking out the newest and most effective treatments for hair loss.  While many of the current non-surgical treatments for hair loss have shown significant promise, we are always on the lookout to provide better options for our patients.  There are several areas of particularly interesting research that are currently being pursued that may manage to successfully control several forms of hair loss.  While many of these treatments are still only in the theoretical or testing phases, they are very encouraging indications of what is to come.

Treating Male Pattern Baldness (Finasteride and Dutasteride)

female hairlossDihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the hormone understood to be the primary cause of male pattern baldness.  High levels of DHT in the bloodstream, over many years, can cause enlarged prostate glands in men.  In men with male pattern baldness, DHT acts on the scalp hair to shrink genetically sensitive hair follicles until those follicles can no longer grow hair.  Finasteride (currently marketed under the brand names Propecia® and Proscar®) works to block the enzymes responsible for converting the body’s natural testosterone into DHT, thus preventing the actions of DHT on hair follicles.  Dutasteride, a drug currently being sold under the brand name Avodart® to treat men with enlarged prostate glands, also significantly reduces the amount of DHT in the body.  However, while the use of Propecia® has been shown to cause a 65-70% decrease in the levels of DHT in the blood, Dutasteride may be able to decrease those levels by 90% or more.  Of the two, Propecia® is the only one that is FDA approved to treat male pattern hair loss.

Treating Alopecia Areata (Tofacitinib and Ruxolitinib)

In alopecia areata, the body’s own immune system attacks the hair follicles and prevents them from functioning correctly.  The hair follicle does remain capable of producing hair, but is hampered from doing so by the ongoing action of the immune system that keeps the follicle in a continual dormant state.  JAK inhibitors are a class of drugs that have been used to alleviate the inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis by calming down the body’s natural immune response.  It was initially theorized that, by inhibiting the natural immune response, these drugs might also be able to stop the action of the immune system against the hair follicles, allowing hair to regrow.  Case reports have shown that two different JAK inhibitors, tofacitinib and ruxolitinib, have caused the significant regrowth of hair in patients suffering from alopecia universalis, a severe form of alopecia areata.  Rigorous controlled trials need to be conducted to determine the efficacy, safety, and proper dosing of these medications in regard to hair loss.  They are currently not approved for use in alopecia areata, but we are hopeful that more studies will be done in order to provide a new treatment for patients.

Treating Hair Loss from Chemotherapy (Vasoconstrictors)

In a recent article in The International Journal of Cancer, investigators in Madison, Wisconsin found that vasoconstrictors may be able to help reduce the hair loss that patients suffer during cancer chemotherapy treatments.  Vasoconstrictors can restrict blood flow to the skin and are often used in conjunction with Novocain and similar numbing agents to keep the injected anesthetic in a particular spot.  Applied topically to the scalp, these drugs could temporarily cut off the cells in the scalp from the body’s blood supply and thus prevent them from receiving the chemotherapy drugs delivered.  During chemotherapy treatments, this would theoretically allow the strong medicines used during chemotherapy to move through the body and attack cancer cells, but keep them from reaching the hair follicles in the scalp and causing hair loss.

Treating Hair Loss from Stress

For many years, scientists studied the connection between stress and hair loss.  In 2011, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles stumbled upon a promising cure for baldness while studying mice that had lost their hair due to an increase of the stress hormone corticotropin-releasing factor, or CRF.   When researchers injected a compound that blocked CRF, the mice grew thick, luxurious coats in five days.  The drug not only seemed to awaken dormant follicles and initiate a growth phase, but it also restored pigment, meaning that it could potentially reverse graying as well.  Unfortunately this treatment is only in the very early theoretical testing phases, and just because it was effective for growing fur in mice is no guarantee it will work on humans.  Actual clinical trials are still a long way off, but these results are interesting and hopeful nonetheless.

If you have questions about platelet rich plasma therapy or other of the other treatments we offer, please contact The Griffin Center to schedule a consultation.  Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ .

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Thursday, September 18th, 2014 Blog, Hair Loss, Hair Restoration, Women's Hair Loss

Understanding Pattern Hair Loss

As board certified dermatologists at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, Dr. Edmond Griffin and I try to take every opportunity to educate patients about hair loss prevention and hair restoration treatments.  To provide an added resource for those interested in learning more about hair loss, we regularly discuss various hair loss topics on our YouTube channel.  Recently, I shared my thoughts on the important differences between male pattern and female pattern hair loss.

In this video, I discuss the most common form of hair loss, androgenetic alopecia, or inherited pattern baldness.  I address how male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss differ in presentation, explaining how both forms of hair loss progress and highlighting the distinct differences between the two patterns.  I then discuss the underlying causes that lead to pattern baldness, mentioning both the genetic and hormonal components and how they seem to point to intrinsic differences between the male and female forms of the condition.

Watch this video to learn more about this common form of hair loss and the individual hair restoration options that are available.

If you have questions about hair loss causes and treatments offered by The Griffin Center, please visit our website and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+.  If you are interested in discussing hair loss or hair restoration options, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.

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Monday, September 15th, 2014 Blog, Educational

Women’s Hair Loss: The Hormone Connection

When it comes to the treatment of hair loss one of the most significant hurdles is determining its cause.  Hair loss can be the result of many different underlying conditions and effective treatment requires knowing what specific causes need to be addressed.  This difficulty can be particularly pronounced in cases of women’s hair loss; while 95% of male hair loss is the result of inherited pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, the causes of women’s hair loss can be much more varied.  In some cases, the problem is related to an imbalance in hormones.  Men’s hormone levels follow relatively predictable patterns, but a number of distinct disorders, as well as several common life events, like pregnancy or menopause, can cause a significant fluctuation in female hormone levels that can result in hair loss. Additionally, the hormone changes caused by the stress of an operation or severe trauma may cause hair loss in either sex.

Griffin Center women hair lossEvery hair follicle goes through a natural cycle of hair growth and shedding.  In fact, at any given time, as many as 15% of the hairs on the scalp are in a dormant state, and anywhere from 50 to 125 hairs are shed daily.  However, during pregnancy, the cycle is interrupted and the hair follicles do not go dormant.  This is why many women experience thicker, more luxurious hair during pregnancy.  However, after the child is born and the body’s hormones begin to return to normal, this shift in hormone levels can cause many hair follicles to enter the dormant stage and shed simultaneously.  While this mimics the appearance of massive sudden hair loss, it is actually only the body’s return to its normal state and so is seldom cause for concern.  Moreover, just as the shift in hormone levels caused by pregnancy can result in loss of hair, so can the artificial shift in hormone levels caused by birth control pills.  Switching or going off or on birth control pills can be enough of a shock to the body’s endocrine system to cause telogen effluvium, a condition typically associated with increased physical or emotional stress.  The change in the hormonal balance that occurs at menopause can also have much the same result.

The thyroid, a small gland located in your neck, produces many of the hormones that regulate metabolism, growth, and development.  Any abnormality in the function of this gland, particularly declining levels of thyroid hormone production, can contribute to hair loss.  It is estimated that forty percent of American women are suffering from significant hair loss related to low thyroid hormones, or hypothyroidism, with redheads particularly at risk.  Similarly, polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition wherein an excess of male hormones (androgens) leads to ovarian cysts, weight gain, and hair thinning.  In both cases, bringing the hormone levels back into balance by treating the underlying condition is the best way to restore hair to normal.

If you have questions about hair loss causes and the treatments we offer, please contact The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research to schedule a consultation.  Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ .

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Friday, September 12th, 2014 Blog, Women's Hair Loss

Treating Hair Loss with Platelet Rich Plasma

At The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research we are committed to finding the most effective treatments for hair loss and techniques in hair restoration.  One of the most recent and exciting developments in hair loss treatment is the use of platelet rich plasma as a means of stimulating hair growth in both deteriorating and newly implanted hair follicles.

hairloss treatments atlanta

Platelet Rich Plasma (or PRP) is derived from a patient’s own blood.  Spinning your own blood in a centrifuge separates it into its component parts, allowing for the removal of a highly concentrated solution of platelets suspended in a small volume of plasma.  These platelets have been proven to contain fundamental growth factors called cytokines that initiate all wound healing, and the plasma itself contains three proteins that are known to act as cell adhesion molecules and as a matrix for bone, connective tissue, and skin.  The concentrate of platelet rich plasma, when re-injected into the body, stimulates the healing process while simultaneously accelerating the speed and degree of regeneration in the healing/injured/diseased tissue.

Patients suffering from a number of different forms of hair loss exhibit a characteristic shrinking of the hair follicles.  Over time, as the follicles shrink, they produce hair that is thinner and thinner, until they reach a point where they stop producing hair at all.  Injecting platelet rich plasma into the dermis of the scalp can cause the shrinking hair follicles to become healthier and larger, producing thicker and fuller hair growth.  Furthermore, platelet rich plasma also speeds up the transition of the hair follicle from the dormant telogen state back to the actively growing anagen state, reducing the necessary recovery time after hair restoration surgery.  We at the Griffin Center have been using PRP in conjunction with our transplant procedures for many years.  Over the last few years we have also initiated using the PRP as a stand-alone treatment in men and women with specific types of hair loss.  It is especially effective in treating male and female pattern loss as well as some forms of traction alopecia.  In some cases, PRP has even been shown to regrow hair in areas afflicted with alopecia areata, eyebrow hypotrichosis, and chronic telogen effluvium.  It has not been as beneficial for scarring hair loss thus far.  Treatments at The Griffin Center generally take less than an hour to perform and the results have been promising.  We generally recommend a series of 3 initial treatments 6 weeks a part which are followed by repeat treatment a year after the first in order to achieve the best results. In the future we are hopeful that using the patient’s own stem cells, harvested from the adipose tissue (fat), will help solve the problems of the scarring alopecias.

If you have questions about platelet rich plasma therapy or other treatments offered by The Griffin Center, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.  Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ .

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Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 Blog, Hair Loss, Whats New

Women’s Hair Loss: Causes and Treatments

For years, hair loss was considered an exclusively male issue.  However, as we have come to understand the mechanisms involved in hereditary pattern hair loss, and as more and more women have sought treatment, it has become clear that women’s hair loss is a much bigger issue than any had previously considered.  In fact, approximately 21 million women in the United States are experiencing some form of hair loss right now, and it is believed that as many as 80% of all women will experience noticeable hair loss by the time they reach 60.  While most women don’t notice the hair loss until they are in their 50s or 60s, it can happen at any age and for a variety of reasons.

hair loss women atlantaIn addition to hereditary female pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, the hair’s growth cycle can be interrupted by anything from the hormonal variances of pregnancy or thyroid disease, to autoimmune disorders and overly tight hairstyles.  Even seemingly unrelated issues like emotional stress or anemia can play a role in hair loss.  Because the causes of women’s hair loss can be so varied, developing an effective treatment plan must be tailored specifically for each unique case.  However, at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, Dr. Edmond Griffin and Dr. Ashley Curtis consult with each patient and carefully examine each individual case to determine which specific form of hair restoration treatment will be the most effective.

While there are a number or non-surgical hair restoration treatments available at The Griffin Center, sometimes the most effective solution for women experiencing hair loss is hair restoration surgery.  Women are often excellent candidates for the follicular unit grafting (FUG) technique.  The process involves the removal of a very narrow strip of hair follicles from the back or sides of the head, which is then carefully dissected under a microscope into individual follicular units which can be surgically grafted into balding areas.  As the progression of androgenetic alopecia in women generally leaves the back and sides of the scalp with more than adequate coverage, there is seldom any difficulty in locating a donor region from which follicular grafts can be harvested.  Moreover, the linear scar left behind is easily hidden by hairstyles that keep the hair long and thick in the back.  An alternative technique, follicular unit extraction (FUE) with NeoGraft, which uses an automated device to facilitate the follicular extraction process and minimize scarring, has also become increasingly popular.  We will carefully evaluate your individual requirements and treatment goals in order to determine the best technique for you.

If you have questions about hair loss causes and treatments, please contact The Griffin Center today.  Be sure to also visit our website and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more hair loss information.

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Monday, August 25th, 2014 Blog, Women's Hair Loss

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