Instead, baldness seems to be a result of an increased ability to use testosterone and not an increase of testosterone per se. They also found porphyrins in 58% of PB subjects and in 12 % of controls. It's a fact of life. Young, J. W., Conte, E. T., Leavitt, M. L., Nafz, M. A. Schroeter, A. L.  (1991) Cutaneous immunopathology of androgenetic alopecia. US News and World Report 124: 12. Cash, T. F.  (1992)  The psychological effects of androgenetic alopecia in men. Further studies have been conducted to assess exactly what the risks are with PB and heart disease. In addition, studies should examine the effects of anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin on reducing inflammation of the scalp. Autoinflammatory vs. autoimmune....what's the difference? Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. © TED Conferences, LLC. In the simplest definition, sebum is the body’s attempt at protecting the skin. Since PB begins in areas that are most frequently exposed to the sun, Young and coworkers argued that light may excite porphyrin production by the resident flora, producing an inflammatory reaction. This is important because other studies have found that high levels of lipoprotein (a) are by themselves a risk factor for heart disease (Ari & Yigitoglu, 1997, cited in Sasmaz et al., 1999). Why Do Some Men Go Bald While Others Don’t? [Directed by Brett Underhill, narrated by Addison Anderson]. A study by Ford et al. That being said, primates and other mammals do experience thinning of the hair or hair loss, and in some primate species, they experience something akin to balding. In a sense, we are involved in a never-ending arms race where neither the host nor the pathogen ever gets the upper hand for too long. The problem with this study, aside from the small sample size, is that subjects were selected on the basis of having a previous diagnosis of psoriasis or atopic dermatitis. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 20: 1309-1318. As a Senior in college, I took a class on evolutionary medicine with Professor Paul Ewald. Bald eagles may not say marriage vows, but it appears they do believe in til death do us part. Jaworsky and others (1992) observed activated T-cell infiltrates, mast cell degranulation, and fibroblast activation in the scalp of patients with PB. It is only by considering all three possible causes for a disease that we are able to fully comprehend its etiology and find ways to treat it, or ultimately, prevent it from developing in the first place. Norwood, O. T.  (1973)  Hair transplant surgery. British Medical Journal 317: 865-869. My guess is that the natural selection theory will prevent a bald future. Bertolino, A. P., Freedberg, I. M.  (1987)  Disorders of epidermal appendages and related disorders: Hair. Researchers have found that the sebaceous glands of bald men have twice the number of testosterone receptors than those of controls, which makes their scalp more sensitive to androgen levels (Sawaya, 1986). All data were adjusted for age, race, education, systolic blood pressure, antihypersensitive medication, cholesterol, smoking, body mass index, and diabetes. The second possibility is to obtain a wig or toupee to cover the bald spot. Most importantly, the most distressed balding men are those who are younger and are romantically unattached—men who are looking for a mate. Have you ever spent time in the food court of a shopping mall just watching people? Mahé and coworkers argue that for each individual, the causal agent may be different (androgens, microbial flora, stress, genetic imbalance). However, although careful family studies of the inheritance of MPB are lacking, new studies argue of a polygenic inheritance of the trait (Küster and Happle, 1984; Ellis et al. Sure, there's a lot of variation among human populations. Currently, there are two drugs in the market aimed at reducing hair loss and promoting hair growth. For people with hair follicles that are sensitive to DHT, even normal amounts of the hormone can result in hair follicles miniaturizing and eventually failing to grow, creating the horseshoe-shaped hair pattern that’s normal for bald men. Compared to other apes and indeed all other mammals, humans are practically bald, and this may have allowed our species to thrive Share on Facebook Share on Twitter With the growing evidence of the presence of inflammation in PB, one group decided to study the effects of an antimicrobial lotion on the progress of PB. The anagen phase becomes progressively shorter and the telogen phase becomes longer. Age range and incidence of hair patterns of the scalp of 300 Caucasian and 300 African American males. When Prince William and Kate Middleton glowed in their wedding pictures, another element was … The bald eagle has been the national symbol of the United States since 1782. Share on Reddit. Since heart disease shows evidence of infectious causation (Ewald & Cochran, 2000), it is very probable that infection may be partly responsible for PB as well. It continues with the development of a hairless bald patch on the vertex, which slowly enlarges and joins the frontal hairline. From Ford et al., 1996. International Journal of Dermatology 39: 576-584. Finally, PB has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease (Herrera & Lynch, 1990; Trevisan et al., 1993; Ford et al., 1996; Sasmaz et al., 1999). One recent study claims to be the first to have found an association between PB and a specific gene. Piérard, G. E., Piérard-Franchimont, C., Nikkels-Tassoudji, N., Nikkels, A. F., Saint Léger, D.  (1996)  Improvement in the inflammatory aspect of androgenetic alopecia. A pilot study with an antimicrobial lotion. Journal of Dermatological Treatment 7: 153-157. In men, it generally begins with a bitemporal recession of the front hairline, followed by thinning over the vertex (Figure 1). In Fitzpatrick, T. B., Eisen, A. It works by blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT, and thus reduces scalp and serum DHT concentrations. Ellis, J. Sarthak Sinha explores the basics of baldness. When humans go bald, the quality of hair deteriorates over time as a response to the hormone DHT, which causes the hair follicle to shrink until there is nothing left. B. Z., Wolff, K., Freedberg, I. M., Austen, K. F. (Eds). Humans are rare among mammals for their lack of a dense layer of protective fur or hair. The presence of inflammation in the scalps of balding patients is now beginning to be recognized. Since those diseases are now known to be caused by pathogens (Odom et al., 2000), Kligman (knowingly or unknowingly) was the first to suggest an infectious causation for PB. The microbes then are responsible for eliciting an immune system response, which results in the inflammation that is seen on the scalps of PB patients. A healthy human scalp contains 90% anagen hairs, and about 10% catagen or telogen hairs. Genetics also seem to play a role in the development of PB. Mostly bald, you’re an ape, descended from apes; your features and actions are carved or winnowed by natural selection. A Bald eagle only weighs around twelve pounds but can weigh even as little as six pounds. The fourth possibility is to take medication. . However, this study failed to distinguish between individuals with a full head of hair or those with PB, so they might have also overestimated the real figure. This type of baldness is partly caused by the fact that humans have continuously growing hair, something most other mammals don’t have (poodles are an exception to this rule, Nuttall says). Table 2. (1991) found immunoglobulin M or C3 (or both) present on the basement membrane of 96% of individuals with PB and on 12% of controls. Testosterone is produced in the testes and adrenal glands in males, and in much smaller quantities in the ovaries and adrenal glands of females. With the recent sequencing of the human genome, much research has focused its attention on finding genes that cause baldness, as well as other diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, and even infertility. This explains the persistence of infectious diseases in a population. The second drug is finasteride ( Propecia ), which slowly enlarges and joins the frontal.. 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