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Could Stem Cell Therapy Offer a Cure for Baldness?
by April Maguire
Stem cells have been all the rage in scientific circles for several years now. In the quest to figure out the potential benefits of this exciting biotherapy, researchers are using stem cells to fight a wide array of diseases and physical ailments, and recently a number of doctors have set their sights on using stem cells to cure hair loss.
The Epidemic of Hair Loss
Without question, hair loss is one of the most common problems in the world. In fact, it affects more than 75% of men over the age of 50, and over 50% of women over 50. Given all of those disappearing follicles, it shouldn't come as a surprise that an enormous business has cropped up treating hair loss, with Americans spending upwards of $4 billion annually on treatments.
Sadly, however, most of these solutions prove ineffective. The most popular way to curb thinning hair is through topical treatments, such as Rogaine or Propecia, but the results are hard to predict. A lot of users only see that their hair loss stops or slows down, but they don't experience a significant amount of regrowth. And even when these topical solutions do lead to hair growing back, those positive results can stop without warning.
Surprisingly, even follicle transplant surgery isn't a surefire solution to hair loss. Some men have the surgery multiple times, only to see their hairline continue to recede. And at a certain point, they run out of donor follicles to transplant to other parts of the head.
A Silver Bullet for Baldness
Fortunately, stem cell therapy could offer a new hope. To most of us, stem cells may seem like a science fiction concept straight out of Star Trek, but the benefits they offer are very real. In the most basic sense, stem cells are blank slates, capable of becoming any cell that the body needs. So, for example, if your follicle cells are shutting down and dying off, then an injection of stem cells can help to bring them back to life.
Currently, one of the stem cell therapies for hair loss involves using a combination of these blank-slate cells and platelet-rich plasma. In this treatment, stem cells and plasma are harvested from the donor's own body, and then a series of injections is administered into the scalp. So far, the results have been limited since the process takes upwards of a year to truly see benefits, but several patients have noticed an increase in hair density and thickness.
In the next few years, we should have a much better idea of stem cell therapy's ability to curb hair loss. And if stem cells can offer a cure to baldness, then it will be welcomed news for millions of people around the globe.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hair loss, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!