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New Research May Aid Age-Related Hair Loss
by Jane Meggitt
New research by the Singapore-based Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) may show how slowing metabolism in older people may affect hair loss. While hair loss affects people of all ages, it is most pronounced in men and women over the age of 50. For women, hair thinning, and loss occurs most often after menopause. That condition is known as chronogenetic alopecia. Prior hair loss research almost always focused on balding men, most of whom lose hair due to genetic male pattern baldness.
A*STAR’s team used state-of-the-art laser microscopy on both human and cow hair in order to study growth on the molecular as well as metabolic level. Human hair used in the study was plucked from people. All human hair used in the study was plucked from near the scalp and hairs used were “minimally pigmented.” The bovine hair follicles were drawn from the bovine flank and trimmed below the sebaceous gland.
Lead researcher, Thomas Dawson, says that aging results in the slowing of mitochondrial energy, so that the body can no longer produce good, healthy hair. Metabolism greatly affects hair health, and in younger people, events like pregnancy, stress and crash dieting can cause temporary hair loss. The body requires considerable nutrients and energy to grow hair, and anything stressing that energy will slow the process. The average person grows 2 meters of hair per hour. The cells necessary for this level of hair growth burn tremendous amounts of energy in the process.
The Ring of Fire
The study discovered a previously unknown section of the hair shaft, which scientists dubbed “the ring of fire.” That’s because this area proves a large sources of reactive oxygen species, which is a byproduct of mitochondrial metabolism. Because the hair growth cells operate at such extreme capacity, they eventually burn out. Too much reactive oxygen damages the hair follicle, and the follicle cannot operate at full capacity over time. Scientists believe the key to stopping age-related hair loss is slowing or eliminating the development of the reactive oxygen species.
Future Creams and Lotions
Although there is nothing on the market at this time, Dawson thinks future creams and lotions left on the hair that may change metabolism could allow follicles to last longer and produce higher quality hair. Such medications could change the way hair grows.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hair loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!