Hair Loss is in Your Genes – Part 2

Hair Loss is in Your Genes – Part 2

Hair Restoration Treatment

The possibility of being able to treat gene-associated or gene-caused conditions by using gene manipulation has yet to be realized. Yes, there has been rapid growth in our understanding of the genetic code, but that understanding has not yet been able to produce the ability to use gene manipulation as a way to treat or hair loss conditions like androgenetic alopecia.

Even though gene-associated or gene-caused conditions are still not treatable at the genetic level, it is becoming increasingly possible to identify genetic predispositions to a pathologic condition and therefore to take steps towards modifying the physical results of the condition. At a medical level, genetic researchers are acquiring the knowledge and the technology to provide clinically significant research about a widening spectrum of gene-associated or gene-caused conditions. This research and knowledge can be used to avoid certain genetic fates.

Hair Loss is in Your Genes - Part 1

Hair Loss History

It began in the 1960’s, when geneticists were able to identify certain diseases with links to a single gene defect such as phenylketonuria, which was discovered to be a cause of severe mental disability. This knowledge quickly led to the development of neonatal testing for the particular genetic defect that caused phenylketonuria, a condition that causes cells to accumulate an excess amount of the chemical phenylalanine, which is an ingredient of many processed foods. This neonatal testing allowed the parents of children who carried this genetic defect to take the necessary precautions so that their children would not consume certain foods that might contain phenylalanine. Being able to identify and therefore avoid phenylalanine prevented the development of the disease.

Genetics from a medical perspective is rapidly evolving from not only being able to identify single-gene disorders such as cystic fibrosis and single-chromosome disorders such as Down Syndrome, but also being able to understand multiple-gene and gene-environment interactions that are associated with other complex conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.

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Hair Loss is in Your Genes - Part 1

Medications

Most genetically complex conditions are recognized as being hereditary, but they may not be identifiable with permanent, transmissible changes in the genetic structure. Genetic mutations are often very subtle and can even be caused by disease-associated interactions between the genes and outside environmental factors such as tobacco smoke, industrial chemicals, air pollution, and dietary changes. Certain forms of heart disease are known to be hereditary. Current treatments involve the prevention and stress modification of gene-environment interactions by lowering the levels of cholesterols, changing diets, and using medications.

The specific genes that are responsible for hair growth on the scalp are not yet identifiable with any certainty, but in an $8-billion-per-year industry, you can count on the fact that many investigators are working every angle to solve the mystery. However, once these hair-growth genes have been identified, it does not mean that the genetic cure for hair loss will immediately follow. The road from research to an effective clinical application of the knowledge requires years of testing and clinical trials.

The good news for now is that androgenetic alopecia is one condition that is treatable now without having to wait for gene therapy. Medical treatments for slowing hair loss as well as stimulating new hair growth have a fairly good level of success. Hair transplants are the most successful treatment for overcoming the cosmetic defects of hair loss.

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The Toronto
Hair Transplant Clinic

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Phone: (647) 351 0061
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