Susan has recently attended the 16th meeting of the European Hair Research Society (EHRS) in Barcelona, Spain.
Advances are being made toward a treatment for chronic alopecia areata. It was a pleasure, Susan said, to listen to one of the leading hair research scientists, Professor Angela Christiano, of Colombia University, New Jersey, U.S.A., who gave an enlightening lecture and ensured us that help is on the way. Knowing the genes involved in the cause of alopecia areata, region, and their function, now gives the scientists the clue to an answer and for those who suffer a clearer explanation of the cause and effects.
Professor Christiano leads a team of International research experts and explained how it has been found that the genes carried by alopecia areata patients are nearly identical to those carried by patients suffering other autoimmune problems and it is described as a ‘loss of immune privilege’.
Unlike male-pattern baldness, alopecia areata comes on suddenly and can include the loss of eyebrows, eyelashes, legs and facial hair, in men. The disease is classified as an autoimmune disorder which means it is caused when the body’s immune system attacks its own organs, in this case, the hair follicle. It has been discovered that a certain gene acts as a homing beacon for killer immune cells. This gene is normally turned off in normal hair follicles but is turned on in alopecia areata follicles.
Susan has found that short term alopecia areata, that presents very quickly and re-grows within four months, can have other influencing factors such as local nerve stimulation, in particular, following jaw, neck and back injuries.
'An anagen and a telogen hair from the same follicle, showing two phases of the hair growth cycle, in one picture.'