Genetic Basis of Alopecia Areata Established
Among the Most Common Forms of Hair Loss, Alopecia Areata Affects 5.3 Million in U.S.
New York – A team of investigators led by Columbia University Medical Center has uncovered eight genes that underpin alopecia areata, one of the most common causes of hair loss, as reported in a paper in the July 1, 2010 issue of Nature. Since many of the genes are also implicated in other autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes – and treatments have already been developed that target these genes – this discovery may soon lead to new treatments for the 5.3 million Americans suffering from hair loss caused by alopecia areata.
According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, alopecia areata is a common autoimmune skin disease resulting in the loss of hair on the scalp and elsewhere. It affects approximately two percent of the population overall. While it affects both men and women equally, it is diagnosed more often in women, since they are more likely to seek treatment.
Among the eight genes, one stands out for its potential role in the onset of alopecia areata. The gene, called ULBP3, is known to act as a homing beacon for cytotoxic cells that can invade and quickly destroy an organ. Normally, ULBP3 is not present in hair follicles, but the ULBP3 proteins are abundant in hair follicles affected by alopecia areata. The proteins attract cells marked by a killer cell receptor, known as NKG2D. In addition to ULBP3, two other genes are expressed in the hair follicle, while the five remaining genes are involved in the immune response.
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Women seeking hair transplants in the United States of America can find affordable first quality medical care in Argentina.
An extract of an article published recently on this subject showing how hair loss is becoming a problem of the past in womans life.
Fernie Wanda has always suspected that just like her dad and mum, she will one day suffer from heriditary hair loss. With more than 20 million American women facing the same problem, women still face a general lack of support from friends and family members who do not see their problem as a real issue.
The day came for Wanda after the birth of her first child when she was just 29, and it is gradually becoming worse ever since. Wanda said, “My husband joke about his own thinning hair. No one takes my problem seriously as they expect me to be able to laugh it off like some middle age men. They keep telling me it’s nothing when my self esteem keep going lower and lower.” Like any working woman, Wanda have an image to maintain and losing her have wreck havoc on her self confidence in the workplace as well as in public…
…It is not uncommon for women like Wanda to experience temporary hair loss post pregnancy or after they stop taking oral contraceptive. This kind of shedding is known as telogen effluvium, where a high numbers of hair enter their resting phase simultaneously. Compared to alopecia hair thinning in women, these conditions, although potentially severe, will go away after a few months when the hair follicles enter their active growing phase again.
In Wanda’s case, her hair loss problems continued to plague her, and she blamed it all on gene. “I do read about hair loss from time to time and in a way, I have even anticipated this to happen. What I learnt was that hair transplant is really the only permanent solution I can use if I don’t want to keep applying creams for the rest of my life.”
However, hair transplant for women is trickier than in men as women usually experience a general thinning on the entire head.
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