Reversing Age-Related Hair Loss in Men
Male-pattern hair loss (Fig. 1), also known as androgenetic alopecia, is the most common form of balding, affecting roughly 40 million men in the US. Approximately 25 percent of men with male-pattern hair loss will begin to lose their hair by age 30, and up to 66 percent will begin balding by age 60. Male pattern hair loss is closely linked to androgens – sex steroid hormones synthesized from cholesterol in the testes, ovaries and adrenal glands. The primary androgens – testosterone, pregnenolone, androstenedione and DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) – normally regulate male and female sexual development and behavior by binding to receptors on target cells throughout the body.
Another androgen, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), has been identified by researchers as a primary cause of male pattern baldness. DHT is synthesized from testosterone by the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. When DHT binds to receptors in the hair follicle, it causes the hair roots to shrink, or “miniaturize.” DHT has also been shown to shorten the amount of time hair spends in the growing (anagen) phase from as long as five years to as little as two months.
In 1998, researchers discovered that men genetically prone to male pattern baldness have significantly higher numbers of androgen receptors in the hair follicles located across the forehead and scalp – exactly those areas where hair loss first appears in androgenetic alopecia. Additional research has shown that these androgen-sensitive follicles also have significantly higher levels of 5-alpha-reductase (1.5 to 3 times higher) and DHT than hair follicles from other areas of the scalp.
Over time, DHT’s miniaturizing effect can shrink large adult hairs, resulting in finer, vellus hairs only 10% as wide as normal and barely an inch long. This leads to the “peach fuzz” common to early stage balding. At this stage if the effects of DHT aren’t reversed or halted in time, the hair follicles will shrink down until they eventually vanish, resulting in complete baldness in the affected area.
Human Trials – Alopecia Areata
The earliest trials of PriaPlex involved a group of patients diagnosed with Alopecia areata, or “spot areata,” a condition that causes clumps of hair to fall out with a gentle pull, leaving patients with one or more bare spots on the scalp. Alopecia areata occurs in young people at a rate of approximately 17 per 100,000 per year, and while the condition isn’t harmful, the psychological impact is problematic for young patients. Fortunately, the condition is generally temporary, and 80% of the patients eventually recover.
The most common treatment for Alopecia areata involves monthly injections of corticosteroids, and twice-a-day external application of 5% minoxidil. Treatment generally requires 8-12 weeks before hair begins to regrow.
One of the early test subjects, Mr. W., was a 50-year-old sales manager who had lost a large amount of hair in the occipital region. He came to the center after being treated with steroids for one month. The steroids had not alleviated his alopecia areata, and the area of hair loss was continuing to spread. Shortly after starting the trial Mr. W. reported significant improvement in his condition.
Male Pattern Baldness
Pleased with the results of the Alopecia trial the researchers began to evaluate the formula for male pattern baldness. Early results revealed that most men with stage 3 or 4 hair loss reacted within six months, with fine hairs appearing on the top of the scalp that grew thicker and longer over time. Men with stage 4 to 5 hair loss were more likely to experience significant regrowth; however, improvements in stage 7 male-pattern baldness were only noticeable close up, with thinner hairs becoming thicker and longer, but with little change on the forehead.
The images below (Figures 7 through 9) document the results of three separate cases of male pattern baldness after treatment with PriaPlex.