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bullet Baldness
bullet 60-Second Symposium.(health benefits of baldness)(Notebook)(Brief Article)
bullet From The Summer of Her Baldness.(Column)
bullet FOCUS@HEALTH; Baldness: Symbol of virility or health risk?
bullet Male baldness is no joking matter
bullet Baldness remedy faces test as a drug for impotence and researcher wants to see if it will help women reach orgasm.
bullet I could face cancer... but losing my hair terrified me; How the potential side-effects of chemotherapy treatment can be harder to bear than the illness itself for some sufferers.(Features)
bullet Coping with hair loss. (baldness causes and treatments)
bullet PERSONAL HEALTH / Do Baldness Remedies Really Work?
bullet Of Mice and Estrogen / Research offers surprising male baldness clue
bullet Loss of tresses depresses.(Female Baldness)
bullet Fight Flaky Scalp And Skin This Winter
bullet Hair! From personal statement to personal problem. (baldness)
bullet Steroids: all-over horror.(Brief Article)
bullet Hair replacement: what works, what doesn't. (includes related information on hair care products)
bullet Baldness Treatment Breakthrough? / Researchers find gene tied to form of hair loss
bullet Supernutrition for women. (interview with Ann Louise Gittleman) (Interview)
bullet THE BALDNESS CURE; It is being hailed as the pill that will banish hair loss. But are the side-effects too high a price to pay?
bullet The hairy truth
bullet FOCUS@HEALTH: Baldness or hair loss traceable to heredity
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition; 4/22/2004
BALDNESS [baldness] thinning or loss of hair as a result of illness, functional disorder, or hereditary disposition; also known as alopecia. Male pattern baldness, a genetic trait, is the most common cause of baldness among white males. It is carried by females, but they are rarely susceptible inasmuch as it develops under the influence of testosterone, a male sex hormone; women, however, may experience an overall thinning of the hair. Hair loss begins at the forehead and crown and is slowly progressive. Male pattern baldness may be cosmetically disguised by hair-follicle transplants. Drug treatments with minoxidil (Rogaine) or finasteride (Propecia) have been used with limited effectiveness.

Diseases characterized by high fever (e.g., scarlet and typhoid fevers), malnutrition, chemotherapy, and glandular disorders can all cause balding. Treatment of the disease or dysfunction will usually halt the loss of hair, and if the scalp and hair follicles are not severely damaged, hair will usually regrow spontaneously. Scalp infection, oiliness or dirtiness of the scalp and hair, and excessive teasing and lacquering of hair are also conducive to baldness. Alopecia areata is a disease of unknown origin characterized by noninflamed bald patches in the scalp hair and beard. It is recurrent but is usually of short duration.

Author not available, BALDNESS., The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition 2004

NOTE: Only Columbia Encyclopedia full-text articles contain links to other relevant Columbia articles.

Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Copyright (c) 2004
The Columbian; 1/1/1998; SUSAN NIELSEN
The Columbian


Dear guys: Don’t do it. We’re begging you. As the old stereotype goes, women worry about their looks more than men. We wax, tweeze and shave. We buy potions that promise to erase our crows’ feet. We steam our hair in mud, polish our toenails, exfoliate our elbows.

Female rituals earn men’s attention, even if men aren’t able to tell if we’re wearing makeup or not. They know that we take hours to get ready for bed. They’re not sure why, though they’ve learned that when we emerge from the bathroom, our skin is soft and we smell good.

Meanwhile, in the next room, the love of our life lets tufts of hair grow out of his nose and ears. He nurtures a belly and watches callouses grow thicker than horsehide on his feet. Old skin cells accumulate around his laugh lines.

Male rituals, or the lack thereof, earn women’s attention, too. We admire them for their devil-may-care attitude about their looks. We admire them for the guts to go to the store without a shower. We admire their ability to pick out a bathing suit without even trying it on and then gallumph around at the beach. ‘This is who I am,” they seem to say. “Love it or leave it.”
We love it.

That’s why the anti-baldness pill approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration disturbs us. We’d hate for men to get sucked into the same machinery that created silicone breast implants; the same corporate attempt to promote, exploit and profit from people’s insecurity.

This time, guys, the insecurity is yours.
The drug is called Propecia. Take one a day, and it will suppress the hormone that shrinks your hair follicles. A month of pills costs about $50, which means that if you’re 30 and you pop a pill every day until your golden years, you’ll spend more than $20,000 reducing your risk of baldness.

Believe me, guys, the manufacturer has done the math already. Even if only 1 percent of the 40 million balding men in America took the pill, Merck & Co. would gross $240 million in one year. That, by the way, is about how much industry analysts are predicting men to spend on the drug in its first year on the market. No wonder Merck’s stock price jumped recently.
Cosmetic surgeons are eyeing you, too, guys. Five thousand men got face lifts last year, up 80 percent since 1992, according to the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. More than 11,000 got their eyelids lifted last year; thousands got their foreheads smoothed and their turkey wattles tucked. Countless others bought alpha-hydroxy acid lotion from those beautiful women in tailored lab coats at the department stores.

Men still represent only about 10 to 15 percent of the cosmetic-surgery market. They are pure potential, and cosmetic surgeons are twirling their scalpels with glee as the image-conscious Baby Boomers start to age.

The propaganda doled out by the Institute of Cosmetic Surgery states that cosmetic enhancements for men have nothing to do with vanity, like they do for women. With men, it’s all about career advancement.

“In today’s extremely competitive business world, men wear their résumés on their face,” reads the institute’s Internet site, next to a picture of shirtless beefcake. “Being qualified isn’t enough any more. You have to look qualified. … Of course, plastic surgery is no guarantee that you’ll get a raise, a big promotion, or that corner office you’ve been waiting for. But, it can help.”
Cosmetic surgeons and pharmaceutical companies have a vested interest in male insecurity. They want men to think that bald is ugly, wrinkles are ugly, noses are ugly. “Sagging, wrinkled skin, puffy eyes and drooping jowls are just as unattractive on a man as they are on a woman,” the Institute of Cosmetic Surgery announced.

As if it weren’t enough that some women don’t have breasts like helium-filled grapefruits, men have the nerve to go bald and get bags under their eyes. In short: We are all a bunch of traffic-stopping trolls, and we better put our cosmetic surgeons on the speed dialer before we start scaring the children.

We women can’t stop you from ordering the pill, guys. It’s a free country. Just keep it away from us, please, because the manufacturer warned that it may be toxic enough to cause birth defects. Women aren’t even supposed to touch it.
Keep listening for any news of long-term side effects, because the FDA gave the anti-baldness pill speedy approval, just like it did with breast implants.

Be careful when you get screened for prostate cancer, since the pill can mask positive results.
And two possible side effects of the pill are impotence and lack of libido. Don’t expect us to be thrilled about your luscious mane of hair when you turn away from us at night and we have to stare at the back of your head. The new FDA-approved erection pill will not console us.

Actually, guys, just don’t take this anti-baldness pill at all. Please. We love you just the way you are. From Mars. If you start getting insecure about your looks, what’s to stop us all from losing our minds? We all will start thinking it’s normal to sell our souls for ageless, homogenous, Barbie-and-Ken perfection. We will have stunning hair and breasts and skin. We will buy whatever pills they give us.
Besides, do you really want to fight us for bathroom time?

Columbian staff writer

Copyright 1997 The Columbian Publishing Co.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch; 2/1/1993; William Flannery

St. Louis Post-Dispatch


More than 21 million American women suffer from baldness. Nearly 31 percent of all women between the ages of 30 and 60 experience some hair loss.

"But the reason you don't see it is that when women have hair loss, they do something about it immediately. Whereas with men, they tend to wait," said Ingrid Smith, executive clinic director of Hair Transplant Associates Inc. in Clayton.

Female hair loss, however, differs from male pattern baldness. "Women retain their front hairline, but there's a thinning of the hair" on the top of the head, Smith said. She added that most female hair loss is due to hormonal changes after menopause.
But genetic predisposition also plays a role, said Mike Mahoney, of the American Hair Loss Council in Tyler, Texas.

"Although many balding males feel as though they become second-class citizens, the females with hair loss are often viewed as third-class citizens," Mahoney said.

People also cruelly view women with thinning hair as being ill or older than they are, Mahoney said.

But, he added, women also have more options in dealing with hair loss.

"Because of the diffuse thinning (women) can create hair styles through perms, colors, teasing, etc., that give them more coverage and an illusion of a full head of hair," Mahoney said. "When thinning is more severe, they opt for the same alternatives as men."

Mahoney said the five most popular female treatment methods in order of use are:
Hair styling.
The drug Rogaine to help retain existing hair.
Hairpieces, generally partials rather than full wigs.
Cosmetic treatments to color the scalp and thicken hair.
Surgical hair transplants.

Mahoney estimates that women account for perhaps as much as 5 percent of the estimated 42,000 hair transplants done in the United States in 1991. With new surgical methods, he believes more women will turn to hair transplants.

Copyright © 1993, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The Cincinnati Post (Cincinnati, OH); 10/29/1996

Byline: The Raleigh News & Observer

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Raging female hormones take the blame for a lot of problems among women. Now, they're being blamed for a major problem among men.

The female hormone estrogen appears to play a key role in hair loss, according to a study published today by scientists at North Carolina State University.

Make that fur loss. The studies were conducted in mice and have yet to be duplicated in humans.

''Our findings indicate that an estrogen receptor pathway in specific cells of the mice's hair follicles somehow acts as a switch, essentially turning on and off hair growth,'' toxicologist Dr. Robert Smart said in a written statement.

He and doctoral student Hye-Sun Oh stumbled onto the finding during a study of pesticides and skin cancer.

While looking at the effects of a cancer-causing bug killer on mouse skin, they noticed that a group of mice that had been treated with an estrogen-blocking substance started to grow new fur. The doctors were using shaved mice with temporarily inactive hair follicles. Somehow, the estrogen blockers reactivated those follicles.

After they confirmed their new finding, the two men applied for a patent on the use of the estrogen blocker as a hair loss treatment.

Said Toxicology Department head Ernest Hodgson: ''It could be good for N.C. State. ''It could be good for Dr. Smart. It could me good for me. I don't have any hair.''

Text of fax box follows:

Opposing view

Many dermatologists who treat hair loss think that male hormones - particularly a product of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone - are the main cause of baldness.

Merck and Co. plans to seek FDA approval for Propecia, a drug it says increases hair growth and prevents further hair loss. The pill works by blocking the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone.

COPYRIGHT 1996 The Cincinnati Post. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of the Dialog Corporation by Gale Group.
60-Second Symposium.(health benefits of baldness)(Notebook)(Brief Article)
Time; 2/7/2000
CHEER UP, BALDY As if female rejection weren't bad enough, a recent study found that men with thinning crowns are up to 36% more likely to develop heart disease. But there are benefits to baldness. These experts offer the upside of showing more scalp.

Dr. JoAnn Manson, Harvard medical professor and study co-author: "Male-pattern baldness may serve as a marker for increased risk of heart disease, perhaps due to elevated testosterone levels. Hair tonics are an unlikely cure-all. A far better bet to protect your heart is 30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily. The good news: less time lost blow-drying afterwards."

Ron Insana, CNBC anchor who received tons of fan mail when he ditched his toupee last summer: "Even as a child, I wanted to lead the bald men's liberation movement... It's fairly liberating to go back to being who you are rather than hiding it. There's nothing worse than having people stare at your hairpiece. It's also easier to wax than to spray."

Terry Bradshaw, co-host of NFL on Fox: "Being bald automatically weeds out a lot of women--if you get turned down for a date, you know it's because you're bald, and you don't take it so personally. Haircuts are half price, and endorsement possibilities are great with all the grow-hair products. Plus, people can use your head as a mirror."

COPYRIGHT 2000 Time, Inc.
From The Summer of Her Baldness.(Column)
Art Journal; 3/22/2002; Lord, Catherine

JUNE 2001

Friday, June 1,2001

In a message dated 6/I/or, cblord@uci.edu writes to undisclosed recipients:


On my computer, the name of this list serve, Her Baldness's own privately maintained and preciously guarded list serve, is FOCL'SRB. You'll figure it out. It started small--just the people I could squeeze into the phrase "friends and family." Her Baldness added to the list, from time to time, in return for acts of kindness that happened as the news traveled--a call, a postcard, a book propped by her front door, an email. Her Baldness also subtracted. She got mad at people for not being there, or not being there as much as she wanted, or not giving her feedback, much as she loathed the word, or giving her feedback, regurgitating what she didn't want to see and never wanted to hear about. Some people restored themselves to her good graces and got back on the list. Some people were deleted forever. Occasionally, when Her Baldness put things in her missives that might have embarrassed her In front of certain people, she deleted those people until she had stopped talking about them and the coast was dear. Her Bald ness had her petty moments. She was manipulative and she could be vindictive. She whined. Not only had she caught cancer but she had contracted the two most common symptoms of cancer: Unwanted Aloneness and Loss of Control. Instead of being angry with her cancer, or cancer in general, or evolution, or the medical profession, or industrial polluters, or state misogyny, or advanced capitalism, she got mad at people she knew. It's easier to get mad at people than it is to get back at cancer, and easier still to get back at them by committing acts of mingy bureaucracy, even if you yourself have invented the entire feeble apparatus in a technologically amplified moment of rage and terror.

Her Baldness made up this list to put the telling in her voice, to warn people to stay away from pity, to be remembered because she thought she might die. She made up this list so that she could be strong and proud and brave and full of energy and motion in the middle of the desolation that is cyberspace, even if she hated how she looked and it took pretty much all she had sometimes to get down the stairs to the computer in her studio and stay there. She made up this list because people are not perfect. They give what they can. Sometimes they cannot afford much, and in times of crisis, even when they are lavish it does not feel like enough. Her Baldness figured that her miserable bald wobbly pale being could not expect to have sympathy pour in like water from the tap. She made up this list in order have a place in which to write. She made up this list to invent people for whom she wanted to write. She made up this list because she needed an audience in order to stay alive and so she plucked an audience out of thin air. Having done so, she played it shamelessly. She sang for her supper. She danced for her dinner. She stripped for sympathy She posted her fear. She got off on the fact that all sorts of people were on the list and that none of the undisclosed recipients knew for certain the identity of any of the other undisclosed recipients. The highest compliment she received was archival in nature. "I save all your emails. I have numbered them." The second highest compliment she received was larcenous in nature: the (generally unauthorized) gesture of forwarding her emails to other people....

JULY 2000

Wednesday, July 12,2000

In a message dated 7/12/00, lorrgrad writes:

Yes, I have toes and fingers crossed for tomorrow. And look on the bright side. This time you won't wake up with hair in your mouth.

Meditate. When I come out the skin below my eyes are wet, but I can't say that I was crying.

Thursday, July 13, 2000

In a message dated 7/13/2000, cblord@uci.edu writes to undisclosed recipients:


So far, in the way of coverings, now that I have lost my hair and acquired a pate, I have of course the Fred Segal black knit, or perhaps it is actually the darkest of navies, as well as a floppy brimmed canvas white, the Uncle Jer's black knit, or a gray blue watch cap, a dusky sage green knitted affair that looks to my mind a little too self-deprecating, almost Smith and Hawken in that white-woman-with-time-to-plant-peonies-behold-also-the-trowel-in-comp lementary-orange-seepage-fourteen look, a solid-black baseball cap, a red and black ZERO PATIENCE cap, water-stained on the brim, a long-ago gift from John Greyson, TWO Kangol black caps, like knitted baseball caps but minus the brim, very Che Guevara except for the white kangaroo in front, but even if the whole world has gone brand nonetheless I do not think I can pull off Che, even if I add a red bandana or no red bandana, a Target entirely synthetic hot-pink brimmed fishing cap with black cow spots, a recent gift from K's not-at-all-recent ex, four black bandanas, one military camouflage bandana, one bandana with a bit of cobalt added to the turquoise, and the promise of a loan of a baseball cap, color unknown, that says JUST DO IT!

I have also acquired certain accessories (lipstick of a dark brownish red described as REVE DE MIEL, thank you, Kim, a XENA THE WARRIOR T-shirt, thank you, Sue Ellen, and a silver and turquoise ear cuff, thank you, Susan). I have reevaluated my collection of necklaces, most of them unworn, many of them gestures intended by my mother to fertilize the stunted signifiers of my femininity. Like color, which does not exist in isolation but is entirely determined by those adjacent to it, the neck, which lies between breasts and head, is entirely changed by the deletion of hair and the addition of pate. Minus any of the accessories mentioned above, pate pretty much fills the visual field, especially with, say, just a white T-shirt, or even a black T-shirt. No accessories means minimal going on victim. Naked is better on furniture. On a woman of my age, pate spells invalid, InVAlid. A shirt with a high collar helps. Also a V-neck. And a straight spine.

A few weeks ago, at the first meeting of my support group, I was asked to name my greatest fear. Going bald, I answered, without hesitation. Catherine, except for Louanne, who hasn't had chemo yet, most of us are bald underneath, they explained. It hadn't dawned on me that they had gone to a store and bought what was covering their heads. I had thought they were amazingly well groomed for women who presumably felt like shit and in fact I felt a bit of unproductive and noxious superiority of the politically correct sort about the priority these middle-class women placed on their appearance in life-threatening circumstances. Underneath this hat, said Suzie, lung cancer, the best-dressed woman in the group, it's baby orangutan, hairless with long wispy patches. If you want to FREAK people out, said Glenda, mother of two, the oldest ten, misread needle biopsy three years ago, double mastectomy and reconstruction--and now let us face it because she has, she is fucked, "when my time is up my time is up," that's he r mantra, and she has already talked to her children--if you want to FREAK people out, if you're at a party or a dinner or something and you want to REALLY freak them out, just say, "it's so hot, I'm so hot I can't take it," and whip your wig off and throw it on a chair, which she did. Then you'll know who can deal. AC [Adriamycin] was nothing, Glenda says. Cytoxan was nothing. AC is not bad. Taxol is awful.

So back to pate, which is, by the way, not entirely smooth, but prone to five o'clock shadow along the back and sides. Is there something worse than cancer for a middle-aged dyke? Could I have male pattern baldness? Is pateness--stubble-free and silky--something I will have to WORK to maintain for the next five or six months? I have not grown accustomed to my pate, but in an odd and tentative sort of dance we are becoming acquainted. In order to walk down the street or into a restaurant or into a store, I must both remember my pate and forget that I have it. The memory in muscles and voice carries me through the interactions that used to be simple: asking for rice cakes in the health food store, returning a videotape, dropping clothes off at the cleaner's. When you face your worst fear you crack, and when you wake up you find out that you're not dead, you're bald. The performance you do that is both you and the effect of you, the performance that teaches you who are and who you can be and who you hope to be, that performance is only partly constructed by your hair, though of course you tend to believe hair is its motive and indispensable force. But my voice still works, and my eyes, my humor, my stride. The performance performs the performer. If you don't let bald into the transaction, neither can other people. The performance will be thick enough to see me through. Collect the stares. Use them later.

On the queer side of town, in Silver Lake, I've been reminded in a gesture of comfort of the similarities between hats and dildos. As Cathy Opie once said of the latter, "I really love to use them but I'm glad they're removable." Actually, I know that Opie is not the first person to float this boat, but now that the ship has sailed and she has left Los Angeles and gone to Yale to be a lesbian, as it were, it's understandable that she would get the credit for some celebrated recent theorizing about gender performance.

Q: Is hair as unnecessary a protrusion as a dick in most social circumstances? Conversely, is hair as much fun as a dick in most social circumstances?

Q: If the penis is located between the legs, and the phallus is located between the ears, where is a lesbian's hair when it is not on her head? (I have kept mine in zip-locked baggies, I confess, in anticipation of a future I do not yet understand, but this is a more literal answer than the sort I have in mind.)

Q: If a straight woman immediately rushes to the wig store (get ready, get it in advance of the chemo, have it waiting so that it will be there when you need it, that's the word on the street) what should a lesbian do? Wigs are tight. Wigs itch. Wigs are about passing. Or are wigs like lipstick? Get over it, apply the signifiers, and hit the road.

Q: How come men OWN not only dicks but bald, too? In this year of the fabulous homeboy/dude/fag, take your pick of race and sexuality and combine as you will, how does a dyke lay claim to bald outside her own house?

So far, only my girlfriend has seen my pate.

Thursday, July 13, 2000

Chemo number two. David will take me. Kim will meet me. I dread getting sicker, but sick is an abstraction. I'm a cipher in other people's calculations of degeneration. The yardstick is fatigue. The translations are tired. It's no picnic. It will be a rough patch. It's the pits. The days will end earlier. I am already exhausted. Betty calls, to worry and to worry and to be far away at the same time, also to give me the only strategy she knows, which is to repeat that I will get through it.

Saturday, July 15, 2000

In a message dated 7/15/00, Kenm writes:

It's a small world. I've heard. My mother had chemo and then they implanted something radioactive in her.

In a message dated 7/15/00, whyrain writes:

JESUS, Catherine, I always knew you were capable of the most Wittgensteinian ruminations, but baldness has apparently sent you into the philosophical ether. Losing a breast even (losing one's life?) hast no terror equal to losing this first and last visible signifier of female virility. I remember years ago when I told Nancy

Graves my hair was falling out and my mother had hardly any hair left at the end of her life, she said something to the effect that this was one thing that was just not "acceptable" for women. A huge no-no. And now that I've found a hairstyle that suits the inexorable genetic progress of hair erasure, it gives me pause to reflect on the whole megillah of pateness, as you put it. I see no reason for you to fret about showing your head to anyone but Kim. I fantasize feeling and kissing and patting it.

Sunday, July 16, 2000

In a message dated 7/16/00, cblord@uci.edu writes to undisclosed recipients:

SUBJECT: THE MAN WHO WAS ABSENT FROM THE FORUM OF HIS OWN DEVICES Kim is meeting me at an expensive restaurant in New York. The owner brings her to the back, which turns out to be her bedroom. She takes out a Sex toy, a long green wiggly thing with a right angle in the middle and an elbow from which something red protrudes, like the flower on the orchid Kim had been watering the afternoon before. It was the most beautiful sex toy Kim had ever seen, The owner asked Kim to make love to her, so Kim began touching her breasts, but then she realized she couldn't fuck the woman because it would hurt me. Also she realized the woman had no legs. Kim felt that the woman would take sexual rejection hard, and so, with more than a bit of regret as she was feeling very butch, she told her that she was waiting for her girlfriend. "The good ones are always taken," said the woman. Then I came into the restaurant in a long cape with a hood that looked like hair, but when I pulled it back I had very, very short hair. A fabulou s haircut. I was the most radiant Kim had ever seen me. She watched heads turning as I moved through the room. When she looked back at the restaurant woman she had her legs again but she didn't have pubic hair.

It's your dream, I say, but it sounds to me like the old me versus the new me.

Whatever choice I made, it was still you, says Kim.

Monday, July 17, 2000

In a message dated 7/17/00 6:17:11 AM, genab writes: It's OK to keep sending emails?

Baking-soda baths. Alice down a long tunnel. Perhaps I should skip radiation end go back for a mastectomy. Whatever, Kim says. I'm not into normativity.

Tuesday, July 18, 2000

In a message dated 7/18/00, cblord@uci.edu writes to undisclosed recipients:


Wig out? reads the entirety of John Mason Kirby's reply to one of my emails. WIG OUT, I shoot back. A reminder that there might be a simple "solution" to my rantings? A question about whether the rantings indicate that I am in fact wigging out and should be worried about and fussed over in ways other than my appearance?

But wig IS out of the proverbial hat. I have crossed off my list the possibility of a substitute, a replacement, a temporary solution, thus implying a temporary problem, a thing to have fun with. Not even a red nylon Cher mane down to the middle of my back. No hirsute dildos for Miss Natural.

Somewhere back there, right after the lesbian haircut, wig went out, wig landed in the garbage can, wig no longer tweaked the tender buttons, wig stayed on the store shelves. Wig would look wig, and cost plenty. It is true for a while, before the short haircut, that I entertained the fantasy of a dread wig, but I see now that this was an unnecessarily elaborate way to refuse in advance to pass.

Wig was replaced by curiosity about my bare skull, but more important, without being aware of any point at which I could be said to have made a decision, I realize that I want to be marked by baldness as a woman with cancer undergoing chemo and confronting her mortality In fact, before I noticed that the decision had arrived in me, I was already marked. Something has been knifed inside me, and I do not want to lose the external sign of that inscription.

I am in the profound place, as Kim says, and though whenever there is a house with lights on by the side of the road, she promises to be in it, in truth I am on my own journey alone at dusk with my little kerchief of precious things.

Baldness is a scar. I want my scar. I want to be able to put my hands on it and have the wind touch it, to rub comfrey salve into it and to feel the rises and hollows of my skull without hair scratching and skidding under my fingertips. I don't want to shop to cover my scar, which will at any rate fade and heal, just as the ones on my breast and under my right arm are doing. I do not want to pass. I do not want to go gently back into the world of people who are afraid of looking into the eyes of someone whose chances of dying in the near future are better than theirs by a long shot, or so they need to believe. Baldness becomes me, in a literal sort of way, a hell of a lot better than a pink ribbon, though it is true that I wear more jewelry. I dress for chemo, at least this second one: black baggy pants, gray cotton knit pullover, black skullcap, and bead bracelets. I understand the woman in the pink jumpsuit and the strappy white sandals that I stared at when I went for my first consultation with the illustr ious Dr. Van Scoy Mosher. She was dressed for chemo. She was on her feet, holding it together, rummaging for her ten-dollar co-payment. She looked a lot better than the other people in the waiting room but her face was bright red and she didn't look good and I still wanted to believe that wouldn't be me. I wouldn't wear pink, I decided. You can only do the drag, you know. She lives in Beverly Hills, or so I imagine, and I live in Silver Lake.

Wednesday, July 19, 2000

In a message dated 7/19/00 PM, CROLLO writes:

I think of Star Trek, lonesco, and trolls--wish-nicks as we called them. Maybe the Star Trek is that bald lady officer I thought was so cool.

In a message dated 7/19/00, cblord@uci.edu writes to debobr:

I have absolutely no idea how you and Jean managed it and I understand as I did not really then how abandoned you felt by me, so if I couldn't really apologize before I do now. The isolation is intense.

Wednesday, July 19, 2000

In a message dated 7/19/00, cblord@uci.edu writes to sharha:

Qi. My first cheese and (organic) tomato sandwich after a week, now being tamped down with ginger tea. It is slowly back to the land of the living, that is to say friends and TV and people who eat normal things and have normal lives. Speaking of TV, when are you coming here to watch cable? And tell me news and gossip of Banff, because you make me laugh. I hope it's not too suffocatingly gorgeous staring at that mountain.

The cup is half full, I suppose. People DO call, but I think they have a hard time realizing what this is actually like. Yesterday, hopefully, the lowest point: crying uncontrollably, thoughts of suicide, thoughts of abandoning treatment. Kim, otherwise known as Coach, came home to find me staring. THAT WON'T DO. Call the oncologist, who clearly wants respect: title and last name; please. I ask for something for aches and nausea. He pushes Advil. Chemo is just something you have to live through. I extract Ativan. I am exhausted.

Wednesday, July 19, 2000

In a message dated 7/19/00, cblord@uci.edu writes to sharha:

Qi. My first cheese and (organic) tomato sandwich after a week, now being tamped down with ginger tea. It is slowly back to the land of the living, that is to say friends and TV and people who eat normal things and have normal lives. Speaking of TV, when are you coming here to watch cable? And tell me news and gossip of Banff, because you make me laugh. I hope it's not too suffocatingly gorgeous staring at that mountain.

The cup is half full, I suppose. People DO call, but I think they have a hard time realizing what this is actually like. Yesterday, hopefully, the lowest point: crying uncontrollably, thoughts of suicide, thoughts of abandoning treatment. Kim, otherwise known as Coach, came home to find me staring. THAT WON'T DO. Call the oncologist, who clearly wants respect: title and last name; please. I ask for something for aches and nausea. He pushes Advil. Chemo is just something you have to live through. I extract Ativan. I am exhausted.

Thursday, July 20, 2000

Nath calls from Morseille. She is dismantling her mother's house. You are loved; remember that at your worst moments.

Couples shrink. Were you crying when you left the last time? I have a hard time accepting affection, I say, like one of those dogs that just shivers and shakes and then howls or even snarls when you move in to make friends. It is all about Catherine now, how Catherine feels, physically and emotionally, says Kim. There is no room for me,

Friday, July 21, 2000

In a message dated 7/21/00, debobr writes:

The strange thing about sojourning in the c-world is to discover who is there for you and who can't/doesn't deal, It's a deep irrational test of some sort and I never condemned anyone for not showing up.

In a message dated 7/21/00, dhijr writes:

Big hug.

In a message dated 7/21/00, genab writes:

When my housing things are resolved and census kaput (very soon) I can probably ride a train across the big land again and visit... OK?

In a message dated 7/21/00, cblord@uci.edu writes to undisclosed recipients:


Last Monday, I received a gift of three garden sculptures from one of my graduate students. She has in the past fabricated covers for common objects ranging from guns to stacks of dishes to penises. More ambitiously and more recently, she has used thin plastic to construct full-scale models of symbolic architectural spaces, which she takes to locations such as fields and parking lots and inflates. Displacement.

The sculptures in question, however, her one and only foray into the world of cement, were possibly something of an inconvenience. Two months ago, it seemed like the right thing to do. I was chair of Jennifer's thesis committee. I couldn't guarantee her fame, but I could give three small cement replicas of the internal space of her studio, each weighing four or five hundred pounds, a home as permanent as anyone can promise. I have a yard, of sorts. Why not accommodate the ghost of a teaching relationship? So what if it was outside my bedroom window?

On Monday, Jennifer arrived, with Mario and Mark and Deirdre and a truck with an electrified ramp and dollies and ropes and carts. Nobody said a word about hair or its absence, Wobbly as I felt, sitting on the front porch propped against the wall, I realized that I was a spectacle and I made them afraid. I noticed that only one of them had thought to wear boots. I went inside to lie on the sofa, wonder what the liability limit is on my homeowner's insurance, and skim one of the many lavender books I now own with the word BREAST in the title. Much crashing and sweating later, the sculptures were installed. Everyone went down to the backyard to pick plums except for responsible Deirdre, who stayed behind to fluff some of the plants that had been flattened by their encounter with concrete. I sat on the porch and watched her work in her purple T-shirt. THE ONLY WAY TO WIN THE REVOLUTION IS GARDENING, it said. For her final project, Deirdre turned a piece of nowhere above a drainage ditch in a Santa Ana barrio in to a garden for neighborhood kids. It took them a year to find a patch of earth the city had forgotten to pave and plant a packet of sunflower seeds. They threw a party. That was a week or so before I'd learned I had breast cancer.

So is chemo horrible? she asked.

Why I wonder, is it unnerving to weep in front of a student? Even a graduated one? Even a slightly older one? Even a kind-hearted and rather scared one? Even a dyke? What would be the matter with a fair exchange? Their work, my tears. Why is weeping in a classroom, though we have all felt like it, more of a threat to the mortar that holds together the bricks than stupidity or hatred or ignorance?

You feel like shit, I say, face wet, and of course Deirdre hugs me. This is not quite right--the shit part, that is, not the hug. Kristeva aside, I don't actually feel like a turd. Turd is a leap I cannot make. Nor do I feel like I have the flu, though the comparison is often volunteered. In my experience, flu feels like something is borrowing your body for nourishment. You don't want to make the loan but you can. Chemo is different. Something has broken into your body and it has murder on its mind.

Chemo is medieval, enough poison to make you crazy miserable but not enough to put you out of your misery. It's like a relic from the days when some people got to cover themselves in finely crafted metal skins while other people were crushed and pierced and pulped in very slow ways. Lights are too bright, noises are too loud, your skin is not only too tight but much too thin, every pressure point on your body hurts, and so does your entire skull.

The soles of your feet burn, everything going into your mouth--even the water that you must drink because you are desperately thirsty and because if you don't the drugs will sit in your bladder and corrode it from the inside out-- everything feels like a bad idea. Piss like a racehorse, the nurses tell you, and when you do, it comes out red. Though food on the face of it does not appear to be your friend, you need something in your stomach besides water because when your stomach is empty you feel it beginning to consume itself Nothing is funny, you can't read, you can't watch TV, you can't sleep, and you cannot get the poison out of you because you have swallowed a pill that overrides the better instinct to vomit, which you must avoid because if you do it might do serious damage to the lining of your stomach and esophagus. There are women who have described finding sheets of body tissue in the vomit.

Chemo is like mainlining weed killer, which is what, to invoke the perversely feminized metaphor oncologists prefer, my particular "recipe" sounds like, Adriamycin and Cytoxan: they fit right in on the pesticide shelf. You're not sure, however, whether you want to be picked for Team Crab or Team Bermuda and you would have preferred to spend the entire game on the sidelines.

Chemo dosage is calculated by skin area. I have 1.7 square meters of skin, Morgan Fisher once happened upon the same chart my oncologist has. He used it to calculate his skin area. He produced a self-portrait by painting a rectangle exactly that size on a sidewalk in downtown Los Angeles. To the best of my knowledge, Morgan Fisher has never had chemo. There is, in addition, the matter of chemo brain, a phenomenon discovered a few days ago by Canadian researchers. Chemo brain causes moderate to severe cognitive impairment, including memory loss, difficulty in concentration, and reduced logical functions. Cancer patients have complained about chemo brain for decades, but doctors have only recently bothered to take an interest in the effects of weed killer on human brain cells.

On your worst days, you think that turds have it better, which is only to say that depression is one of the biggest side effects of chemo, it being difficult, let us face it, to keep up the old chin, or the pecker, or the spirits, whichever you prefer, when you feel like a weed and perhaps, after all, not so very far from a turd. You have episodes of wondering why your sweetheart is spending two hours at the supermarket and where all your friends have gone and why your mother won't behave like a mother for once in her life and just get on a plane and why your therapist has forgotten to call and why even your cat has decided she would rather sleep alone.

The need for contact is voracious. After a week, you answer yes to every question on those checklists of symptoms to see whether you are A Depressed Person in need of professional help and then finally the legs get back the energy to climb out of the hole but the white blood cell count continues to drop. It does so for another two weeks, after which, all going well, it crawls back to a more or less normal level. You do, in fact, feel better in the short run, much better, but you also know that weed killer is feasting on you and that any one of a list of unpleasant side effects could be in your future: heart attack, kidney failure, intestinal parasites, collapsed veins, loss of sexual interest, sores in the rectum, skin so thin it splits, weight loss, weight gain, extreme fatigue, ditto vaginal dryness, olfactory hallucinations, severe skin burns, permanent hair loss, and, of course, the stress induced by waiting for the advent of any of the above. You begin to wonder: Is this how the end begins? The body, be trayed, no longer has confidence that what it takes in might nourish. Food doesn't fire the muscles. It saps them. You want nothing to penetrate the envelope of your skin. No feasting. No fucking.

On the same day you feel really and wonderfully human again, back to your old self, and happy, for a change, to be that old self, you are ready for the next round. Chemo works by killing all the fast-growing cells in your body, of which cancer is only one kind, and, when you stop to think about it, the difference between your fast-growing cells and you is a matter of splitting hairs and you are not m possession of hairs to split. This is what people are describing when they say that chemo brings you to death's door.

You bond with women who are going through the same thing. I know, for example, that Suzie's disability started two days ago, that she decided to shave off the last of her baby orangutan hair the week before, and that she hates looking in the mirror in the morning because before she looks, when she wakes up next to the guy she just married after living with him for seventeen years, she isn't a person with three more rounds to go. I know that Naomi, who has progressed from pate to fuzz, speaks from experience when she tells me not to worry about my blood count because whatever happens there is a drug that will take it back up again. I know that Glenda is going through chemo number six today, and that her sister has come out from Georgia because it was so bad the last time that Glenda's heart almost stopped and her ten-year-old daughter had to race for the nurse to take the drip out and even though I don't really know Glenda I sit here and hope she got back home safely and that I will see her next week.

How do you get through the depression part? I asked my group last night. You just do, they say. People call you up. People bring you things. People take you out. You let people help. You let them do it now because they'll get bored with you later. There's a name for it. It's called compassion fatigue. You weed, said Glenda, even if it's only for ten minutes. You just go out into the garden and weed.

Catherine Lord lives and works in Los Angeles. She is a professor of studio art at the University of California, Irvine.

Printed here are excerpts from the introduction and an early chapter of The Summer of Her Boldness, a book-length documentation of an involuntary cyber-performance engendered by the diagnosis of breast cancer. The work includes photographs and listserve postings, as well as fragments from the authors journals and email.

COPYRIGHT 2002 College Art Association
FOCUS@HEALTH; Baldness: Symbol of virility or health risk?
Filipino Reporter; 11/18/2004; Chua, Philip S.
Filipino Reporter

BALDNESS: Is it a health risk? The theme for this week's column.

Baldness, often a subject of jokes and also popularly considered by some women as a symbol of virility, appears to have a more serious implication, as far as health risks are concerned.

In a study on more than 22,000 men ages 40 to 84, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the findings suggest that "men with male pattern baldness may be at increased risk for heart disease."

"Compared to men with no hair loss, those with severe vertex baldness (balding at the crown of the head) had a 36 percent increased risk of heart disease; men with moderate crown balding had a 32 percent increased risk, while mild balding on the crown carried a 23 percent increased risk...Men with frontal baldness had a 9 percent increased risk."

The correlation was especially evident in men with vertex baldness whose cholesterol level or blood pressure was high. Baldness is a non-modifiable health risk, unlike smoking or eating high fat diet, so hair loss remedy, like Rogaine or Propecia, might improve the look but won't reduce the risk to heart disease.

Another health risk related to baldness is the increased risk for cancer of the prostate, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health Division of Cancer Epidemiology. Their study on 4,421 men with male pattern baldness (ages 25 to 75) without history of cancer of prostate, revealed that the risk for prostatic cancer was
significantly elevated among these men, compared to their peers with abundant hair.

Physicians now use male pattern baldness as an early clinical marker or indicator of susceptibility to heart disease and prostatic cancer.

Q: How common is baldness?

A: Baldness affects approximately 40 million men and 20 million women in the United States. We could not find statistics for the Philippines. Male-pattern baldness is recession of the hairline from the forehead upwards and back, thinning or fallout from the crown of the head, leaving a horseshoe-shaped hair mass around the sides and back of the head. Female-pattern baldness is a diffuse hair loss throughout the scalp. Even Julius Caesar, according to legend, used the ceremonial wreath of laurel leaves as a crown to hide his baldness.

Q: What causes baldness?

A: About 95 percent of hair loss is caused by a hereditary condition called androgenetic alopecia. DHT is dihydrotestosterone comes from a male hormone called androgen, which circulates in the bloodstream. Androgen is converted to DHT by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. Those with more reductase activity have more DHT binding to the hair follicle receptors, which
adversely affects hair follicles, until the follicles wither away.

Q: How does one know if he/she will have baldness?

A: All men have to do is to look at their father's hair, and the women, at their mother's hair, since baldness or thinning hair is strongly hereditary. Of course, there are some other medical conditions that could affect the future of one's hair besides genetics.

Q: Does baldness mean premature aging?

A: No, there are many bald men who could perhaps look younger with a set of hair on them but, physiologically, they are as young or as old as their chronologically age. Their life span is normal also.

Q: What is the normal rate of hair loss?

A: Normally, we lose about 100 hairs a day, and they regenerate, unless a person has a tendency to baldness or has an illness that affects hair growth.

Q: What is alopecia areata?

A: This is a condition due to autoimmune disease of unknown cause, where inflammatory cells attack the bulbs of the hair follicles under the scalp, resulting in hairless patches or areas of baldness, hence "areata." While baldness only hurts one's psyche, some of the causes of hair loss may signal a health problem, like alopecia areata. This is why consulting with
one's physician is essential.

Q: Could hair fall out from the entire head at once?

A: Yes, in more serious cases, which luckily is not very common, hair may actually fall out of the entire head, eyebrows and beard included, and hair from the rest of the body. In many cases, though, hair spontaneously regrows.

Q: What medical conditions can cause hair loss?

A: Severe malnutrition, childbirth, thyroid problems, a form of lupus and, more popularly see (even on TV shows), following chemotherapy for cancer.

Q: Can pigtails or cornrows cause hair loss?

A: Yes, if worn too long, pigtails or cornrows can lead to hair loss due to the stress to the hair shaft.

Q: Can mental stress lead to hair loss?

A: Psychological stress has been reported to have caused hair loss but only at times of extreme emotional trauma. The medical community doubts the role of emotional stress as a significant factor in the causation of baldness. Sudden appearance of spots or areas of premature gray hair in some people who were under severe personal stress is not uncommon.

Q: Does wearing hats cause hair loss?

A: No, this a myth. Wearing hats does not cause hair loss or baldness. Standing on your head to increase blood flow to the head will not cure hair loss or baldness. Scalp massage or brushing won't save you from hair loss. Rubbing egg yolk or milk, dead flies, or ancient Egyptian fat mixtures from mountain goats, lions, goose, serpents, crocodile or hippopotamus on bald
areas of the head will not promote hair growth, in spite of the popular folklore. Toweling off your hair gingerly rather than vigorously will not do the trick either. And the biggest myth is cleaning your scalp of sebum to unclog blocked follicles to prevent hair loss or baldness. This is simply not true.

Q: Does using hair dryers/blowers cause hair loss?

A: No, not if you do it with the normal care. If you use too much heat and for prolonged periods, it could damage the hair and even burn the scalp.

Q: How about hair coloring?

A: There is no medical evidence to show that coloring hair with commercial hair dyes available in the market causes baldness. Even the previous theory that using hair coloring caused cancer has not been scientifically proven.

Q: Do herbal potions or lotions help prevent hair loss?

A: No, there is no known cream or ointment, lotion or potion, mousses, gel, volumizers or shampoo that can prevent hair loss or baldness, much less cure them. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned all these over-the-counter salves in 1989. The only two things that will surely grow when you use these costly preparations are your expenses and the bank accounts of the manufacturers and dealers.

Q: Do multivitamins and minerals prevent hair loss?

A: No, except in very rare instances where multivitamin/mineral deficiencies are severe and aggravating the malnutrition present. In general, we believe that daily multi-vitamin/mineral supplements are good for health maintenance and general well-being.

Q: What can be done then?

A: The FDA approved medication Rogaine (minoxidil-based) has been claimed to have led to moderate hair regrowth after four months in 26 percent of men between 18 and 49. An additional 39 percent had some regrowth. In women, about 20 percent had moderate regrowth among those 18 and 45 years of age, plus an additional 40 percent with minimal regrowth. Hair (micro-
or mini-graft) transplantation and the use of hairpieces (toupees and wigs) are the two other options. State-of-the-art hair transplant centers have had great successes with most natural looking hair growths. Synthetic hair transplant has been legally banned by the FDA because of the attendant complications and dangers. In today's society, baldness is well-accepted and so with the use of hair pieces or hair transplants.

Q: How about the related health risks mentioned above?

A: The prudent way is to minimize all modifiable health risks, like cigarette smoking, excess alcohol intake, high-cholesterol, high-fat diet, a sedentary lifestyle, and unmanaged stress. This strategy for a healthier lifestyle will also help counter the increased risk for heart disease and prostate cancer among all individuals, including those men with male pattern baldness.

Article copyright Filipino Reporter.
Male baldness is no joking matter
USA Today; 2/17/2000
USA Today

A USA TODAY article depicts a girl with alopecia areata -- also know as gradual baldness -- and discusses the dreadful disease and the large number of national afflictions (''Girls' pain ends with lots of love and donated locks,'' Life, Tuesday).

I am sure it is sad and embarrassing for females with the rare disease to live and deal with baldness. The somber tone of the article left me wondering why male baldness isn't taken as seriously.

Articles I've seen on male baldness seem to take a slapstick approach. I am partially bald and would love to have a full head of hair. But I have the genes for baldness and must deal with it.

I believe, in a very broad sense, that male baldness is a physical handicap. As a result, I do not understand how male baldness can be a joking matter.

Bald jokes, more than likely, are made by persons who have hair -- and do not feel or understand our social pain. Perhaps if baldness were considered a handicap, the jokes would subside.

I hope science soon will eliminate the baldness gene, along with many of the more serious afflictions facing mankind.

Donald Robison

Chambersburg, Pa.

Hillary's next move?

I am a New Yorker who believes that Hillary Rodham Clinton is here not because she cares about our state but because the office of senator offers her the opportunity to set herself up for an eventual run for the White House.

How much prestige is there in being from Arkansas or even of Illinois when it comes to national politics? Why is it that Mrs. Clinton is not interested in Arkansas politics nor Chicago politics?

My guess is that should Mrs. Clinton win the New York Senate race, we would have the Clintons trying again for residency in the White House.

It is unfortunate that too many New Yorkers do not see her run for what it really is.

Elizabeth Eaton

Cincinnatus, N.Y.

Ventura unmasked

Last year I had hope for Gov. Jesse Ventura and his small gang of Minnesota Reformers, but the past few months have convinced me that he is a vulgar pirate posing as a reformer, and a politician interested only in being successful by pleasing the political establishment (''Reform Party struggles with infighting,'' News, Monday).

Ventura and his followers, along with the Democratic and Republican establishment, ask for total allegiance to two issues: ''globalism'' and abortion on demand. Those issues were never part of the Reform Party, so Ventura and his comrades were silly ever to try to take over the party.

They would have been better served by forming an alliance with Bill Clinton and Al Gore or the Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party. Maybe that was their intention all along?

Good riddance, Ventura.

Phil Schwartz

St. Paul, Minn.

Copyright 2000, USA Today, a division of Gannett Co., Inc.
Baldness remedy faces test as a drug for impotence and researcher wants to see if it will help women reach orgasm. (Originated from Knight-Ridder Newspapers)
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service; 7/26/1993; Monroe, Linda Roach

Minoxidil, the drug sitting on the medicine shelves of many thousands of balding men, may also get things going in the bedroom. The drug is about to be tested nationwide as a rub-in remedy for impotence, and a Boston researcher wants to see if it will help women with an inability to reach orgasm.

It's too early to know whether the baldness and blood pressure medicine will help with sexuality. And the idea comes with a cautionary note: A man who tries out his Rogaine prescription below the belt might risk having an erection that won't go away _ a painful condition calling for an emergency-room visit. Ditto for women.

But because female sexual problems have long been treated as emotional in nature, the possibility for a medical treatment is especially good news to the estimated 20 percent of American women who have difficulty achieving orgasm, said Beverly Whipple, a Rutgers University researcher famous for finding the G-spot.

What this says is we may be able to help women with their orgasms very easily,'' Whipple said. ``If there's a cream or something _ my God, that would be wonderful.''

The researcher planning the women's minoxidil experiment agrees.

I think the era is around the corner for opening up all the same investigatory studies that we've done on the physiology, the biochemistry, the anatomy of the penis, to do them on the clitoris,'' said Dr. Irwin Goldstein, a urologist at Boston University School of Medicine and a leading researcher in identifying the physiological reasons for impotence.

Goldstein and colleagues recently reported, in the Journal of Urology, the case of a woman who had a drug-induced case of priapism, a painful, persistent erection of the clitoris. Priapism of the penis is widely known as a side effect of some drugs, but the side effect had not been written about in women, Goldstein said.

He later found that several such cases had been reported over the years to the drug's manufacturer and had never been studied.

This set Goldstein to speculating: Developmentally, the penis and the clitoris are similar organs with similar structures. If a medicine can cause priapism in both men and women, then the medications used to treat the reverse condition in men (impotence) might also work in women.

Goldstein said he is planning an experiment to try to find out if placing minoxidil on the clitoris increases blood flow and leads to easier orgasm.

Just as the penis does, the clitoris becomes erect with extra blood during sexual arousal. It consists of a base _ the part that becomes erect _ topped by nerve-rich tissue, called the glans.

It may be necessary for the clitoral erection chamber to provide support and elevate the glans to allow for improved sensation and therefore orgasm,'' Goldstein said.

Thus emerges the possible role for minoxidil, a drug for hypertension that makes arteries relax and increases blood flow.
Already, doctors have referred several women to Goldstein.

These women's stories sound just like those he used to hear from impotent men, he said.

They say, 'I was in a relationship, and I never got an orgasm and it was misery and frustrating for me, and caused a great strain in the relationship. The relationship ended. I went to doctors, but they can't help me. They send me to crazy doctors, and they can't help me either.'

This is where men were 25 years ago,'' said Goldstein. In the 1970s, until we had a penile implant, we didn't have any medical therapy for men. We sent them to the psychiatrists.''

Since then, doctors have learned they were wrong to think of impotence as all in a man's head. In fact, at least 60 percent of impotence cases are caused by blood-flow or nerve problems that are complications of conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The nationwide experiment using minoxidil in men will begin by fall at ``numerous'' sites around the country, said Jeff Palmer, spokesman for the drug company, Upjohn. He would not be specific.

The drug differs from the Rogaine lotion currently available because it is in a special formulation designed to speed absorption through the skin, Palmer said.

A cream or lotion for impotence would have advantages over the drugs currently used by most urologists. They must be injected into the penis _ a prospect men can find daunting.

COPYRIGHT 1993 Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service

I could face cancer... but losing my hair terrified me; How the potential side-effects of chemotherapy treatment can be harder to bear than the illness itself for some sufferers.(Features)
Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland); 5/3/2000; Mallon, Margaret

WHEN doctors told 13-year-old Linda Roome she had ovarian cancer, she was shocked and afraid. But it was the news that she would lose her hair that made her burst into tears.

The chemotherapy which was her only chance of survival also threatened to rob the teenager of her self-confidence and femininity.

Linda, of Kilsyth, near Glasgow, admits: "Having cancer didn't seem real to me, but when they told me my hair would fall out, it was like the end of the world."

But it's not just chemotherapy, which releases poisonous chemicals into the bloodstream, which can cause female baldness.

An incredible 30 per cent of women in Britain suffer from hair loss, which can also be caused by poor nutrition, stress and a rare condition called alopecia.

Linda's mother, Elaine, recalls: "Linda had been so brave all through the diagnosis at Yorkhill Hospital.

"She was very calm when our GP referred her to Yorkhill in January after her gym teacher had noticed a swelling under her ribcage.

"She was fine going for a scan, and even when the consultant said she would have to have an operation to remove the tumour two days later, she didn't panic.

"It wasn't until they had tested the tumour and found it was malignant that the doctors knew they would have to give Linda chemotherapy.

"The events had happened over a matter of days, so it didn't sink in that she had cancer.

"When the doctor explained to her that she would have to feel very sick with chemotherapy in order to get better, she was confused and annoyed because she had been feeling fine. Even then she didn't seem frightened and hadn't cried once.

"But when they told her the treatment would make her lose her hair, she suddenly broke down and was completely inconsolable."

It's a reaction with which Glasgow hairdresser Rhona Kavanagh is only too familiar.

Three years ago, her mother died of cancer, but she says: "My mother was a very elegant woman who liked her hair nicely cut and styled. To have to lose it seemed like the end to her. It seemed strange to me that she was most upset about that."

That experience prompted Rhona to take a counselling course at Glasgow University.

She explains: "I wanted to help other women who were suffering the same problem of dealing with hair loss. The course taught me how to listen properly to people, and to empathise with their feelings as they dealt with their illness."

Rhona, who with husband Paul runs Kavanagh Hairdressing, also learned techniques to cut, dye and style wigs and she is often called upon by the nurses at the Beatson Oncology Clinic at Glasgow's Western Infirmary to advise patients who are about to undergo chemotherapy and who need to buy wigs.

She says: "I help them choose a wig which is closest to their hair colour and style. I then dye and cut the wig so it's as near to their own hair as possible. There's no need to put up with a wig which looks like a wig."

Luckily for Linda, she didn't lose all her hair - only about half of it came out during chemotherapy, leaving her with thinner shoulder-length hair.

Last week she finished her fourth and last course of chemo and her hair is beginning to grow back in.

She says: "I'm glad I don't have to go for chemo any more because it made me feel sick, and I'm especially glad I didn't end up losing all my hair.

"It's all spiky at the top of my head, but I know it's going to grow back, so I couldn't be happier."

The loss of hair is such a traumatic part of cancer treatment that oncology nurses are specially trained to advise patients like Linda.

Although their lives are not in danger, the trauma for people who lose their hair for reasons other than cancer is profound.

Experts are baffled about the cause of alopecia, which affects only three per cent of the population.

Like Linda, Pam Thomson was 13 when she suffered hair loss - but in her case she developed alopecia and lost all her hair, including her eyebrows, eyelashes and body hair.

For a teenage girl on the edge of womanhood, it was a crushing blow which robbed her of all confidence.

Pam, now 39, recalls: "I went to the doctors and they didn't know what had caused it or if it would grow back, and I got these terrible, painful injections in my head to try and stimulate the growth, but it didn't work.

"I was given a wig, but when it was windy, I wouldn't go to school. When I did go, I was taunted and called `Kojak' and `Wiggy'.

"Other kids used to try and grab it off my head. I hated it. I just used to sit in my room, crying.

"I missed out on so much. I couldn't go to discos. Because my wig was acrylic, it would show up ultraviolet - it was so embarrassing. I only went once and left early." Four years later, just as suddenly as it had stopped, Pam's hair began to grow again.

She experimented with styles, even perming her locks when she got engaged to Iain. She thought the alopecia was behind her ... until she had her first child, Ross, when she was 24.

Pam reveals: "It just happened all over again and since then, it has never come back. I was heart-sick. I wouldn't go out. I wouldn't even see a doctor because I didn't want any more painful treatments.

"When it came to getting a wig, Iain went to the shop and got them for me to try on at home."

She adds: "It's a hidden illness - people don't want to talk about it. Unless you've experienced it, you can't know how it affects your self-confidence. You feel less of a woman and you want to hide away. I even considered suicide at one point, I was in such despair.

"Even when you have a wig, your whole life revolves around it. When we were on holiday in Florida, we were in a car crash and I just kept saying to Iain ... `Don't let them take my wig off'.

"One time, it did come off when I was at a ceilidh and it got caught on someone's charm bracelet. It was so embarrassing. Iain rescued it and I just went home." Pam now runs Turvey's, the wig shop in Edinburgh from which she sent Iain to collect her wigs.

She says: "In the Seventies, there were only about three styles and colours to choose from, but there are much better styles now and a vast selection to choose from.

"They can be secured with special double-sided tape to make sure they don't come off, which is everyone's worst nightmare. You can even swim in wigs now."

Pam has around 450 female clients who suffer from hair loss. Some of them are undergoing chemotherapy and others lose their hair because of an illness or dietary deficiency.

Sandra Driscoll, 47, lost her long blonde hair in patches after she fell ill with pneumonia in 1998.

Sandra, who works as a clerk, says: "I used to dread brushing my hair and it would just fall out in clumps in the shower and on to my pillow."

Her GP could do nothing for her, but trichologist - or hair specialist - Andrew Bervie diagnosed a lack of iron. Sandra was one of the lucky ones - after a course of supplements and, 18 months later, her hair is strong and healthy again.

Sandra says: "I thought it would never grow back, but Andrew told me the cause was a nutritional deficiency and that it would grow back once the imbalance was sorted."

Dr Bervie says: "Up to 30 per cent of Western women are affected by genetic hair loss - and 72 per cent of these also have a nutritional imbalance."

He adds: "Iron deficiency leads to hair loss, but if the iron deficiency is corrected, hair growth will start. This can be done through carefully- balanced nutritional supplements."

Pioneering trichologist Dr Hugh Rushton says: "Research has shown that a large proportion of women reporting hair loss had low ferritin (iron) levels compared with women without hair loss.

"The main reason is a loss of blood during menstruation, which is just enough to cause a gradual depletion of iron stores, particularly in women who eat little or no red meat.

"Low iron intake has been known for some time to be a potential problem for millions of women, but it is only now that it is recognised that this factor can contribute to increased hair shedding, and that this condition is really quite common."

Sandra says: "For a woman, losing your crowning glory is one of the worst things that can happen to you. It takes away all your self-esteem - you feel ugly and old.

"You know how awful it is to have a bad haircut or perm, so imagine how much worse it is to go bald."

Call Turvey & Co. wigmakers on 0131-334-0707, and Kavanagh Hairdressing on 0141-552-8651.

THE average head has 100,000 to 120,000 hairs which last for around four years each. You lose 50 to 100 strands a day, although this varies widely from person to person.

Temporary hair loss is different from genetic hair loss or baldness and affects women as well as men.

Causes can include pregnancy and nutrition. As hair is "non-essential" compared to other parts of the body, it is often the first to suffer from a bad diet.

Usually, it will correct itself within a month or so. If it is still falling out after two months, see your GP.

Hair falling out in patches is called alopecia areata and affects three per cent of the population.

Most cases of alopecia - called telogen effluvium - are stress-related. Ironically, one culprit may be the male hormone testosterone.

It's normal for women to have small amounts of it circulating in their bloodstream - but women under stress can have higher levels than normal, which triggers hair loss.

Testosterone is also a component of many versions of the contraceptive pill, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Both can bring on hair loss in some predisposed women.

Alopecia androgenetica is a largely inherited condition that causes hair to thin gradually. Although irreversible, it can be lessened by using Regaine.

For further information on hair loss, send an A4 sae to Hairline International, Lyons Court, 1668 High Street, Knowle, West Midlands B93 0LY.

A booklet called Understanding Hair Loss in Women can be obtained from Dr Hugh Rushton on 020-7637 4853 or on website www. nutrihair.co.uk.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday

Coping with hair loss. (baldness causes and treatments)
Better Homes and Gardens; 9/1/1997; Barone, Jeanine

Androgenetic alopecia, or pattern baldness, is the largest cause of baldness in both men and women. Other causes include nutritional deficiencies, stress and trauma. Solutions discussed include hairpieces, minoxidil and hair transplants.

We love hair. Throughout the ages in all cultures, a full head of luxurious, thick hair has been associated with youth, sex appeal, health, and power. Even Julius Caesar felt the need to hide his hair loss. Legend has it that the ancient Roman ruler began wearing a laurel crown 24 hours a day to hide his receding hairline.

Yet, while there is a string of successful bald (or balding) male celebrities today--from tennis ace Andre Agassi to actor Patrick Stewart--the same can't be said for bald or thin-haired women. They're often viewed as ill, old, and unattractive. And from the flood of male-centered infomercials and print ads touting hair growth treatments, you'd think women rarely lost more than a few strands.

"Women are often forgotten as people with hair loss," says Dr. Lorna Thomas, a dermatologist at Detroit Medical Center. Twenty-two million American women are losing their hair compared with 34 million men. But everyone loses hair-about 100 a day. Of the some 100,000 hairs on your head, 90 percent are growing and will do so for up to four years. The others are in a rest phase for about three months and only loosely anchored, then they're shed. In their place, new hairs sprout.

Blame it on your genes. Male or female pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, accounts for the vast majority of hair loss. It runs in families, caused by a genetic defect that affects the androgens (male hormones, such as testosterone). Androgens are produced by the testes as well as the adrenal glands, which are found in both sexes.

People with androgenetic alopecia are more sensitive to androgens. As a result, hair follicles shrink and new hairs are finer and grow for a shorter time. The typical male pattern--with a receding hairline and baldness on top--is easily recognizable. Not so for women, who thin out all over their heads but rarely go entirely bald. "Because the thinning is so gradual, by the time a woman realizes it, she may have already lost about 50 percent of her hair," says Dr. Thomas. The old saying, "Only your hairdresser knows," often applies here because many times a hairdresser is first to notice a woman's hair loss.

Tracking other causes. While androgens and genetics are the biggest cause of hair loss, there are plenty of other culprits.

Alopecia areata--in which hair falls out in clumps leaving small round patches--is the second most common. The condition--which also runs in families-strikes between 100,000 to 200,000 Americans of all ages.

Researchers believe it's an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks hair follicles, mistaking them as foreign intruders. Usually hair grows back in six months to two years, though new bald patches may form as others grow back.

There are other, treatable problems that can cause hair loss, says Dr. Leonard Dzubow, head of dermatological surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. Many of the following only damage hair temporarily:

  • Diet. A protein, iron, or zinc deficiency can affect your scalp.
  • Illness. High fever, major surgery, infection, or an over- or underactive thyroid can result in hair loss.
  • Trauma. Tight ponytails, braids, cornrows, weaving, or wearing a snug wig can cause hair to break.
  • Stress. The body cuts back on hair growth during physical or psychological stress. You may experience hair loss months after enduring a stressful event.
  • Hormones. Women can lose hair after giving birth or if they stop taking birth control pills. With a drop in estrogen, hair sheds more quickly.

How you see yourself. Because hair is an identifying feature, losing it makes some people feel as if they've lost a part of themselves. A team of British psychologists examined 182 balding men, age 19 to 73, and found that the more bald the men were, the more likely they were to be depressed, introverted, and have low self-esteem.

"I find that young men who are balding are afraid their social situation will become devastating" says Dr. Dzubow.

For women, the psychological impact of hair loss is even more profound. "It hits a panic button for women," says Dr. Thomas, "and they become embarrassed, frightened, depressed, and devastated."

Depending on your sense of self, you can choose to accept your thinning hair as a natural part of aging. Certainly it's easier and more economical to love the way you look, whether that means wrinkles, a spare tire, or a bald spot. You may be focusing on your balding scalp when those around you don't even notice it. If you're fit, well-dressed, and exude an air of confidence, thin hair or baldness can be a nonissue.

Hairpieces can help. For those who refuse to accept their new look, a hairpiece or weave can give the illusion of a fuller head of hair. The look of today's high-quality pieces is so natural, it's hard to tell what's real hair and what's not.

All hairpieces have to either be attached to your remaining hair or to your scalp with tape, adhesive, clips, or hair weaving. Some hair clinics may try to sell you a permanent hairpiece sutured to your scalp. But the suturing may result in infection or scarring, so be sure to first check with your doctor.

The best hairpieces are custom designed and fitted, made from synthetic or human hair, or a combination. Quality ones can cost from $900 to $2,500 depending on construction and the type of fiber. Some insurance companies will pay for them if hair loss result from a disease. Bring a friend when you try it on or see if there's a return policy. And always have a spare. The American Hair Loss Council (312/321-5128 or on the Internet at http://www.ahlc.org) can help you find a specialist.

Miracle in a bottle? Rogaine (minoxidil) is the only drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat hair loss. It's sold over-the-counter in pink packages for women and in blue packages for men, but the product is the same. In clinical trials, the 2 percent minoxidil solution produced at least moderate hair regrowth in 26 percent of men age 18 to 49, and in 19 percent of women age 18 to 45. No one is sure how it works.

"While the majority of people don't grow a lot of hair (with Rogaine), 90 percent hold onto what they have," says Dr. Arthur P. Bertolino, director of the hair consultation unit at New York University Medical Center. Usually it takes four months to see some results and a good eight months to get the full effect. Rogaine--which costs $30 for a month's supply--must be used twice daily on a continual basis, otherwise the hair will fall out again.

The best Rogaine candidates are those who still have peach fuzz (not a slick bald spot), are bald on top, or have noticed. their hair thinning over the past few years. Rogaine is not for you if you've lost your hair suddenly or in patches, your scalp is red and irritated, or there's no family history of baldness.

Rogaine made Tracy Pattin, 40, feel a lot better. Her hair had been thinning since she was in her 20s. "It was miraculous when someone said "What are you doing with your hair? It looks good,'" she says. But Craig Wilson, 47, a reporter for USA Today, tried Rogaine for six months and said the fuzz that grew in wasn't worth the money or effort. "I'm used to brushing my teeth and running a comb through my hair. Rogaine was just one more thing to do," he says.

Rogaine manufacturers, Pharmacia & Upjohn, are currently awaiting FDA approval of a 5 percent prescription minoxidil solution which they hope will give women more dramatic results.

Anti-balding pills. There are drugs available for women to help treat hair loss, says Dr. Wilma F. Bergfeld, chief of dermatology at The Cleveland Clinic. For hormonal fluctuations, there's estrogen or hormone replacement therapy; nutritional support for malnutrition, or iron or B vitamin deficiency, and drugs classified as anti-androgens.

Because androgens are a key player in hair loss, blocking their effect on scalp hair should also block hair loss. The latest anti-androgen--which could be approved by the FDA this year--is Propecia. It's a new formulation of Proscar, a drug that is currently prescribed to treat an enlarged prostate.

At a recent meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers reported that one tablet of Propecia a day boosted hair growth in 48 percent of men, compared to 7 percent in the control group. Propecia works by blocking the enzyme that plays a role is balding.

"If you suppress androgens, you get a very significant effect in hair growth. There's no reason to suspect it will be different in women," says Dr. Howard Baden, a professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School.

Though it's not approved for this use, many doctors prescribe Proscar for hair loss--as well as other drugs, such as aldactone, a drug to treat high blood pressure. Like with Rogaine, you get the best results if you start when your hair first thins.

Surgical solutions. Hair transplants have come a long way. Gone are the days when you could easily point one out in a crowd. "Traditional hair grafts were the size of a pencil eraser and looked like Barbie doll hair," says Dr. Randall K. Roenigk, a dermatology professor at Mayo Medical School.

The procedure has been revolutionized by micro-grafts, consisting of only one to two hairs, and mini-grafts, with three to four hairs. "It's almost impossible to tell." Here's how it works: A strip of hair is taken from the back of the head and a surgeon grafts tiny plugs containing one to four hairs into the bald or thin area. Each graft is painstakingly moved into a small hole or tiny incision. "Usually it takes three or four sessions depending on the density you want," says Dr. Roenigk

Cost is a big reason some people choose a hair transplant only when they're already bald. The procedure--usually done under local anesthesia--can cost as much as $4,000 per session.

Hair transplantation is the most common cosmetic procedure in men, but until recently, women rarely chose to do it. Women can do well with hair transplants, says Dr. Dzubow, especially those who lose their hair like a man. "But if a woman's hair in thin all over, there's no rich area to harvest" he says.

Other surgical techniques for hair replacement are more involved. A hair lift, which can cost up to $8,000, can reduce or virtually eliminate a large bald area. The surgeon removes a U-shaped area of bald scalp and advances the entire hair-bearing scalp into the bald area.

For someone with a tight scalp, scalp expansion can be done prior to a hair lift. A balloon-like device is first inserted under the scalp to stretch the skin. The best female candidates for a hair lift are women with male pattern baldness rather than diffuse thinning. They have more hair to work with, says Dr. Dominic A. Brandy, a clinical dermatology instructor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

During a procedure called flap surgery, the surgeon removes a patch of bald scalp and pivots hair-bearing scalp into its place. The results, however, aren't always satisfactory because once the hair is turned, it grows in the opposite direction, and sometimes looks too thick at the hairline. The procedure costs about $4,000.

If you're considering a surgical solution, ask your doctor for a referral (be sure the surgeon is board certified). You may want to first check with your state or local medical society to see if any complaints have been lodged against the doctor. The American Hair Loss Council or the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (800/263-9968) also can refer you to a surgeon m your area.

Be sure to get a second opinion, meet with several former patients, and take a close look at the photographs in the waiting room. "In the before and after pictures, make sure the way the hair is combed, the lighting, and the angle are all the same," says Dr. Brandy.


  • Stress leads to permanent hair loss.
  • More hairs are temporarily shed during stressful situations. When the stress is relieved, hair should grow normally.
  • Baldness is inherited from your mother's side.
  • You can inherit the gene from either side of the family because its carried on the chromosome which both men and women carry.
  • People who wear hats every day will go bald.
  • A fight hat can damage the hair shah where it rubs, but the hair follicle should still be healthy Any hair lass is usually temporary.
  • Certain vitamins and minerals can stimulate hair growth.
  • Despite the claims, antioxidant and other vitamin supplements won't promote hair growth unless there's a defficiency.
  • Frequent shampooing can make your hair fall out.
  • Shampoo makes hair look fuller by removing residues.
  • Coloring your hair can mane it fall out.

Strong chemicals, whether from dyes or a permanent, could weaken your hair, but any loss is temporary unless the hair follicle becomes damaged. Despite claims, exotic cosmetic lotions, herbal potions, and special shampoos don't release trapped hairs or promote hair growth. But shampoo, hair dye, or mousse may make your hair appear fuller.

* If you shave your head, hair grows back thicker.

Hair grows below the skin surface so shaving will not improve hair growth.

COPYRIGHT 1997 Meredith Corporation

PERSONAL HEALTH / Do Baldness Remedies Really Work?
Newsday; 1/13/1998; Ridgely Ochs

PERSONAL HEALTH / Do Baldness Remedies Really Work?

Ridgely Ochs

LOOKING FOR WAYS to halt the balding process has a long, if not venerable, history. Apparently, in 400 BC, Hippocrates smeared pigeon droppings on his scalp to try to regrow his hair. So ask dermatologists if they think there's a market for new hair-loss products - namely, the prescription pill Propecia or a stronger version of the scalp lotion Rogaine - and the answer is a very simple yes, stupid. Every week Dr. Adam Bodian, a dermatologist at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, says he gets several patients - "everyone from kids in junior high to men in their 70s" - who ask what they can do for thinning pates.

Dr. Wilma Bergfeld, head of clinical research in the department of dermatology at The Cleveland Clinic, said an almost blind 85-year-old man came to see her recently. "He wanted Propecia. And here's a man who can't even see himself," she said. Will she prescribe it? "Medically there's no reason why not," said Bergfeld. The question of whether the drugs work is more complicated. Neither works in all men, neither is a "cure," and both must be used forever to be effective, experts say. Androgenetic alopecia, or male - and female - pattern baldness, stems from genes inherited from either side of one's family and is the cause of about 95 percent of all hair loss. Men who inherit these genes tend to lose hair starting at the hairline or back of the head and advancing to thin the top of the head. Women who inherit them generally lose hair more diffusely overall and usually less than men, according to Dr. Charles Baraf, attending dermatologist at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park. In either case, the mechanism appears to be the same: At the hair follicle, the male hormone testosterone - also present in small amounts in women - is converted by an enzyme called 5 alpha reductase into another form of testosterone, called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. It is DHT that triggers hair loss.

What happens, experts say, is not that people with pattern baldness shed hair faster or in greater quantities. But in these people new hairs don't grow at the same rate, and there are more follicles in the "resting" stage. The resting follicles also shrink in size, and when, or if, they grow a new hair, it may be thinner, lighter and have a shorter growth period. Propecia, whose generic name is finasteride, works by inhibiting the production of 5 alpha reductase, thus stopping the conversion to DHT. In a larger dose (5 mg.), finasteride, marketed as Proscar, is used to reduce an enlarged prostate. "It is as fine and specific as a needle in its action," said Dr. Vera Price, professor of dermatology at the University of California at San Francisco. How Rogaine, whose generic name is minoxidil, works is not clear, according to the Physician's Desk Reference. Available for a decade, initially by prescription, a 2 percent version of Rogaine, made by Pharmacia & Upjohn, was cleared for sale over the counter in 1996 for men and women. Recently, the FDA approved over-the-counter sale of a 5 percent version for men. In a study of 1,879 men ages 18-41 with mild to moderate hair loss, Propecia, a 1 mg. version of finasteride, helped about 83 percent of the men maintain or grow hair, according to the makers, Merck & Co. Price, an investigator for both Propecia and Rogaine, said the drug appears to work better in younger men who have more active hair follicles. In older men taking Proscar - fives times stronger - "there haven't been overwhleming reports from the field of hair growing back," she said. And the drug has some downsides. Less than 2 percent of the men experienced decreased libido, difficulty in getting an erection and decrease in the amount of semen, according to Merck. The company said the side effects went away when the drug was discontinued. "If you're a young guy, that could be a chance you don't want to take," said Bodian. Right now, it is approved for use in men only, because there is a risk of genital abnormalities in a male fetus in a pregnant woman. But Bergfeld said a trial is under way looking at the drug's effectiveness in postmenopausal women. And, it's not cheap: about $46 to $49 a month, according to a Merck spokesman - not counting the visit to the doctor to get the prescription. How does Rogaine compare? Rogaine Extra Strength is said to be 46 percent more effective than its 2 percent counterpart, which was said to work in 20 percent to 25 percent of people. There is some indication it may work in men who have "suboptimal hair follicles," Price said, meaning balder or older men. Bergfeld, a clinical investigator for both drugs, said, "In the end, the results will be about the same." But the 5 percent formula is also not recommended for women because it can increase facial hair. It's cheaper than Propecia - $30 to $35 a month - although some people get scalp irritations from it or dislike rubbing a solution in their scalp twice a day. Can both be used at the same time? Price and Bergfeld said animal studies seem to indicate that using both produces even better results, but there have been no human studies. By far the biggest negative of both drugs is that you have to stick with a daily regimen for the rest of your life. Stop either, and your genes take over. For some, the daily hassle may be worth it. "For many people this is not trivial; this is about youthful appearance in the workplace" and confidence socially, said Bergfeld. "For some people, their hair is their crowning glory, and they'll kill to try to keep it."

Copyright 1998, Newsday Inc.

Of Mice and Estrogen / Research offers surprising male baldness clue
Newsday; 10/29/1996; THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


Of Mice and Estrogen / Research offers surprising male baldness clue


Raleigh, N.C. - Researchers using mice to examine a pesticide's effects on skin cancer also developed data they say indicates baldness may be linked to the presence of a female hormone, not the absence of a male one. Dr. Robert Smart and graduate assistant Hye-Sun Oh were studying the pesticide's impact when they found that the shaved skin of mice grew hair when treated with an estrogen blocker.

"Estrogen was playing some fundamental role in skin biology," Smart said. The discovery by the North Carolina State University researchers was published in today's edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The discovery is being tested for possible application in humans, but any commercial use could be five years away, Smart said. "It may well be that whatever effect estrogen has is going to be much more significant in the mouse than the human," said Dr. Barbara Gilchrest, chairwoman of the dermatology department at Boston University. Another researcher said the finding is a good start for understanding hair-loss conditions.

"What's interesting and frustrating about the hair follicle is it requires the interaction of a lot of signals," said Dr. Ulrike Lichti, hair follicle investigator at the National Cancer Institute. "This is such a clear demonstration of an agent that it's new and it's exciting." Smart said the estrogen blocker acts as a switch to turn on hair growth in the lab mice. He said research to determine if the same switch exists in humans is under way at Wake Forest University's Bowman-Gray School of Medicine. Scientists have known that cells at the base of the hair follicle regulate the follicle growth and resting periods, but no one knew why. "In the follicle itself, what we're observing is one particular cell type is being influenced by estrogen and it is influencing the growth of another cell type," Smart said. Past research has focused on male hormones, or androgens.

Copyright 1996, Newsday Inc.

Loss of tresses depresses.(Female Baldness)
USA Today (Magazine); 2/1/2004

Hair loss is most commonly associated with male-pattern baldness, but women can have alopecia, too, and it may have significant impact on their quality of life. Too often, women suffer psychological and emotional effects that can range from decreased self-esteem to anxiety and depression, maintains physician David H. Kingsley of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, Geneva, Ill.

Hundreds of women with hair leas who were interviewed on the topic reported:

  • Lees of self-esteem. "Other people are always looking at my hair." "I feel unattractive or undesirable as a result of my hair loss."
  • Social dysfunction. "I go out less because of my hair loss." "My hair loss has limited my sexual activity."
  • Anxiety and depression. "Losing my hair has been the most disturbing event of my life." "I constantly worry about my hair loss."
The loss of hair in women is likely to be diffuse--a thinning of hair rather than the typical male-pattern "monk's tonsure" or "cue ball" effect. This less apparent level in women accounts in some degree for the underestimation of its importance in their lives, Kingsley asserts. Many people, including physicians, do not commonly think of hair loss as a female concern. Scalp examination is not part of a routine exam and thus the subject of hair loss may not arise unless the woman overcomes her embarrassment and broaches the subject with her physician.

Of the many causes, only a few, such as aging, hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, and heredity may be considered "normal." Treatment is available for some of these.

Other potential causes include cystic ovaries, prescription drugs, hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, chemotherapy, stress, dietary deficiencies, and damage to hair and scalp caused by styling. A lesser known cause of hair loss is trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling), which can cause bizarre patterns of baldness. Trichotillomania often is a "secret" that the woman is unwilling to discuss as it may be linked with another condition such as an eating disorder.

Approximately one to two percent of women who complain of hair loss have no sign of thinning other than normally expected day-to-day shedding. In some instances, a problem such as marital or job stress may be an underlying factor.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Society for the Advancement of Education
Fight Flaky Scalp And Skin This Winter
Sacramento Observer; 11/3/2004

Sacramento Observer


We have heard it all before -- the cold weather strips our hair and skin of natural oils, leaving it extra dry and exposed. But for African American women, the cold weather can damage hair and skin on another level.

Because many African American women relax their hair, which virtually "punches" holes in the hair shaft, moisture escapes, leaving hair more susceptible to the damaging effects of the cold winter winds and low humidity.

In addition, the cold weather strips skin of its natural moisture, an especially serious problem for African American women, since their skin tends to be naturally dry. These conditions call for products that saturate both hair and skin with natural ingredients. That's why Black & Beautiful has carefully formulated its exceptional hair and skin care line especially for ethnic hair and skin.

Start at the top by making your scalp tingle with Black & Beautiful Organic Tea Tree Shampoo and Conditioner. Formulated with Tea Tree extract, known for its astringent and antibacterial properties, Black & Beautiful Tea Tree Shampoo prevents dry, itchy scalp and cleanses hair without stripping strands of their natural moisture.

Black & Beautiful Organic Tea Tree Conditioner, formulated with Keratin and Vitamin E, helps keep relaxed hair smooth and straight while adding body and leaving hair soft.

Quench your hair's thirst for moisture with Black & Beautiful Organic Carrot Gro Oil Moisturizer. Specifically designed for African American hair, Black & Beautiful Carrot Gro Oil Moisturizer uses natural carrot extract, known for its strengthening and antioxidant properties, to nourish hair while providing protection, vitality and elasticity to weak, distressed locks.

Then, get healthy, glowing skin with Black & Beautiful Shimmer Body Lotion. Cocoa butter and Vitamin E nourish skin while adding a soft shimmer that will keep you sparkling even when the lights are low.

Don't forget your elbows, knees and toes! Treat these tough customers with Black & Beautiful Cocoa Butter or Shea Butter Stick.

A staple for every woman's purse, Vitamin E and either pure Shea Butter or Cocoa Butter combine to form the perfect solution for dry cuticles and ashy elbows and knees!

For a two-in-one solution, try Black & Beautiful Shea Butter Spray, the perfect finishing touch for both skin and hair. The alluring, lightly-scented spray eliminates ashy skin, conditions hair and leaves both with a healthy glow.

So this winter, get back to nature with head-to-toe organic hair and skin care solutions.

Black & Beautiful is available at select drugstores and beauty supply stores nationwide.

Article copyright the Sacramento Observer.
Hair! From personal statement to personal problem. (baldness)
FDA Consumer; 12/1/1991; Pine, Devera

From the shaved heads of medieval monks, to the long-haired hippies of the 60s, to the spiked hairdos of today's punk rockers, hair has always made a personal statement.

"It's one of the leading ways people can establish their individuality and express their style," says Jerome Shupack, M.D., professor of clinical dermatology at New York University Medical Center in New York City. "Hair has had sociological importance throughout the ages."

Because of its importance, anything that happens to our hair that we can't control-falling out or turning gray, for instance-can be the source of much anxiety.

In the United States, some 35 million men are losing or have lost their hair from male-pattern baldness, according to the American Hair Loss Council. Approximately 20 million women have experienced a similar loss of hair (from female-pattern hair loss), and an estimated 2.5 million Americans have lost their hair due to other causes.

The Basics

Hair is produced by hair follicles-indentations of the epidermis (outer skin layer) that contain the hair root, the muscle attached to it, and sebaceous, or oil, glands. Hair is made up of dead cells filled with proteins, most of which are known as keratins. The cells are woven together like a rope to form the hair fiber. The hair fiber, in turn, has three layers: the outer cuticle with its fish-scalelike structure; the cortex, which contains the bulk of the fiber; and the center, or medulla. Hair color is determined by melanocytes, cells that produce pigment. When these cells stop producing pigment, hair turns gray.

Although it seems as if the hair on your head is always growing, hair actually has active and rest phases. The growth phase, known as anagen, lasts for two to six years. At any given time, about 90 percent of scalp hair is in the growth stage. The remainder is in the rest phase, known as telogen; this lasts from two to three months.

Once the rest phase is over, the hair strand falls out and a new one begins to grow. As a result, it's considered normal to lose from 20 to 100 hairs a day, says Diana Bihova, M.D., a dermatologist in private practice in New York City. Only a change in your regular pattern of loss is considered abnormal-but many things, including genetic factors, diet, stress, and medications, can change that pattern.

Baldness: Manifest Destiny?

The most common cause of hair loss in both men and women is rooted in genetic predisposition. Called androgenic alopecia, it is known as male-pattern baldness in men and female-pattern hair loss in women. (Alopecia is the, scientific term for baldness.) According to the American Hair Loss Council, genetics accounts for 95 percent of all cases of hair loss in this country.

Baldness results from a combination of genetic factors and levels of testosterone (a hormone produced by the adrenal gland in both sexes and also by the testes in men). If hormone levels are right, then the hair follicles will express their genetic destiny by growing for shorter periods and producing finer hairs. In men, who have higher levels of testosterone than women, this eventually results in a bald scalp at the crown of the head and a horseshoe-shaped fringe of hair remaining on the sides. In women, the hair thins all over the scalp; the hairline does not recede. This type of hair loss doesn't usually show up in women until menopause; until then, estrogen tends to counteract the effects of testosterone.

One Approved Drug

The only drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat pattern baldness or hair loss is minoxidil topical solution (Rogaine), which is rubbed into the scalp. Originally approved for hereditary male-pattern baldness in 1988, it was also approved for treating female-pattern hair loss in August 1991. However, it should not be used by pregnant or nursing women.

In his dermatological practice, Arthur P. Bertolino, M.D., Ph.D., director of the hair consultation unit at New York University, says that this lotion helps hair grow in 10 to 14 percent of the people who try it. He estimates that approximately 90 percent of the time, Rogaine at least slows down hair loss. (Minoxidil is also available in tablet form to treat severe high blood pressure. Oral minoxidil has a potential for serious side effects and is not approved to treat baldness.)

No one is certain yet just how topical minoxidil works to promote hair growth. "One theory is that it dilates the blood vessels, so it may stimulate nourishment of follicles," says Bihova. Alternatively, Rogaine may convert tiny hair follicles that produce peach fuzz into large hair follicles that produce normal-size hairs. Again, no one knows for sure.

What is certain is that, at least in men, Rogaine works better on patients who fit a certain profile: They've generally been bald for less than 10 years, have bald spots on top of the head that are less than 4 inches in diameter, and they still have fine hairs in their balding areas. "The process begins very early," says Bihova. "I see 19-, 20-year-old males who have it."

The most common side effects with this medication are itching and skin irritation. Also, according to Bertolino, once you stop using it, any hair that grew as a result will fall out. Finally, the drug is expensive: In 1990 it cost about 600 a year to use it twice a day.


Baldness can also be treated with hair transplants, in which plugs of "donor" follicles from the patient's scalp are used to fill the hairline. Although hair transplants work well in both men and women, the treatment tends to have a more dramatic effect on appearance in men with bald spots than it does on women with thinning hair.

The less hair you have, the more drama in the change," says Robert Auerbach, M.D., associate professor of clinical dermatology at New York University School of Medicine. However, the American Hair Loss Council warns against attempting to replace lost hair with hair pieces sutured to the scalp. FDA has not approved any products specifically intended for this purpose; however, this does not preclude a physician from using sutures, which are approved devices, for this purpose. According to the council, although the procedure is legal, it can result in scars, infections, and even brain abscesses.

Another treatment for male-pattern baldness, hair implants made of high-density artificial fibers surgically implanted in the scalp, was banned by FDA in 1984 because it causes infection. This is the only device FDA has ever banned.

Products That Don't Work

So-called "thinning hair supplements," "hair farming products," and vasodilators" for the scalp will not promote hair growth, says Mike Mahoney, a spokesperson for the American Hair Loss Council.

Thinning hair supplements are nothing more than hair conditioners that temporarily make your hair feel or look a little thicker. The main ingredient in these products-polysorbate-is also found in many shampoos. Promotional materials for hair farming products claim that they will release hairs that are "trapped" in a bald scalp. Mahoney says these products, many of which are herbal preparations, can do no such thing. And so-called vasodilators do not increase the blood supply to the scalp and do not promote hair growth.

Everyday Hazards

While male- and female-pattern baldness results in permanent hair loss, other factors can cause temporary loss of hair. For instance, the drop in the level of estrogen at the end of pregnancy can cause a woman's hair to shed more readily. Two or three months after a woman stops taking birth control pills, she may experience the same effect, since birth control pills produce hormone changes that mimic pregnancy. A major physical stress, such as surgery, or a major emotional stress-positive or negative-can cause hair loss.

"I've seen women start losing their hair before getting married," says Bihova. Even jet lag can have a similar effect.

In most of these cases, the hormonal imbalance or stressful situation will correct itself, and the scalp will soon begin growing hair again. But, says Bihova, since most women are extremely upset by even a temporary hair loss, many dermatologists treat these conditions with either topical steroid preparations or localized injections of low doses of steroids. Bihova emphasizes that these are local, not systemic, injections of steroids; therefore, the shots do not have the same risk of dangerous side effects as systemic steroids. However, only a board-certified dermatologist should administer this treatment, she says.

The list of causes of temporary hair loss goes on: Pressure on the scalp from wigs or hairdos that pull too tightly can cause it. A fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or more often causes hair loss six weeks to three months later. And some medications can cause a temporary loss. These include vitamin A derivatives such as Accutane, cough medicines with iodides, anti-ulcer drugs, some antibiotics, beta blockers, antidepressants and amphetamines, anti-arthritis drugs, blood thinners, some cholesterol-lowering agents, aspirin taken over long periods, some thyroid medications, and chemotherapy.

You Hair What You Eat?

Although nutrition does play a role in hair loss and in the overall health of your hair, only extreme nutritional deficiencies or excesses will cause hair loss. For instance, people with anorexia and bulimia may temporarily lose hair. So will others suffering from malnutrition. "It's pretty rare in the United States," says Bertolino. "If someone was on a real strange, restrictive diet, it could happen to them."

Megadoses of some vitamins-particularly A and E-and an iron deficiency may lead to hair loss. People who claim they can determine which vitamins are lacking in your diet by analyzing your hair, however, are not speaking from a scientifically sound basis. The test used with this type of hair analysisatomic absorption spectrophotometryis a legitimate analytical chemistry method; however, used on hair, the results of this test do not correlate with nutritional status, says Shupack. "Because of the sociological importance of hair, a lot of people try to cash in on it," he says. [Hair analysis] is all witchcraft as far as I'm concerned." There are, however, a few legitimate hair tests for substances such as arsenic and lead.

For Beauty's Sake

Every time you shampoo, blow dry, perm, straighten, or dye your hair, you damage it slightly, says Bertolino. For the most part, hair can withstand this type of treatment. But overzealous beautifying can damage the hair fiber, resulting in many broken strands, and a frizzy, split-end look. For instance, if you bleach your hair and then have A bunch of perms done in a short time, you're heading for trouble. Misuse of hair cosmetics can cause the hair to break as it comes out of the scalp, says Frances Storrs, M.D., professor of dermatology at the Oregon Health Sciences University. Permanent wave solutions break the bonds that hold hair together and then re-form them. But with a perm that is not diluted right or not rinsed off properly, for instance, those bonds may not re-form and the hair would soon fall out as a result. Fortunately, most professional hair dressers know how to use perms correctly, says Storrs.

Most hair dyes are not as irritating as permanent solutions, mostly because they do not break the bonds between hair fibers and are therefore not likely to cause a hair loss, she says. However, a severe allergic reaction to hair dye could cause hair loss. "The allergy is pretty common, actually," says Storrs. Permanent solutions can also cause allergic reactions, though that's a rare side effect.

Other beauty-related manipulations of the hair can cause problems, too: Hot irons, corn rows, and braids may bring on temporary or permanent hair loss. If the hair breaks often enough, the follicles may eventually not be able to produce normal hair, says Bihova. "If someone has a problem with thinning and excessive loss, we advise being gentle," she says. "Don't use rollers; don't use blow dryers on a hot setting; don't wear tight hair styles." Rough shampooing may accelerate any loss, though it's usually not a problem in people with healthy hair.

The Medical Side

Some hair loss is the result of a type of immune disorder known as alopecia areata-some 2.5 million people suffer from this condition in which antibodies attack the hair follicle, causing the hair to fall out. Alopecia areata often causes small, oval or circular areas of hair loss. However, in some forms of the condition, all the scalp hair falls out; in other forms, all body hair is lost. Although the loss is usually temporary, the condition can recur. Treatments include topical steroids or the use of chemicals to produce an allergic reaction to start the hair growing again.

Finally, chronic, systemic conditions-including one form of lupus, abnormal kidney and liver function, and hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidismcan affect the hair. If you're experiencing hair loss, see a doctor. He or she will want to order some basic blood tests to rule out any medical cause of the condition.

Devera Pine is a freelance writer in New York City who frequently writes about health and science.

COPYRIGHT 1991 U.S. Government Printing Office
Steroids: all-over horror.(Brief Article)
Science World; 1/12/2004
Some people take anabolic steroids Illegally as a way to increase their muscle mass. But steroids affect more than muscles. Read below how steroids wreak havoc with brain and body. Then, finish the diagram. Write either how steroids affect the body part indicated by an arrow, or the name of the body part affected.
  • Anabolic steroids are artificial versions of the male sex hormone testosterone. When a user takes steroids, the normal balance of hormones is disrupted. Hormonal confusion can lead to bodily confusion--men can take on female traits and women can take on male traits. Men, for example, can grow breasts, a condition called gynecomastia. And women can grow facial and excessive body hair, and get deep voices. Both sexes can experience male-pattern baldness.
  • The drugs may also cause stunted growth in teens. When there's an excess of hormones, the brain is fooled into thinking that the body has already gone through puberty, so it signals the bones to stop growing. That means teens may never reach their full height.
  • Anabolic steroids cause problems in the brain, as well. Because of their effect on the limbic system, a part of the brain connected with mood, some users experience homicidal rages or moments of unprecedented aggression and violence. This condition is known as roid rage.
  • Most steroid users pop pills but some inject the drugs. When they share needles, this can lead to the spread of HIV and AIDS.
  • Finally, steroids make their way to the heart, causing potentially fatal heart attacks, and the liver, causing cysts and possibly liver cancer.

Steroids, p. 7: Hair--male-pattern baldness; Bones--stunted growth; Brain/limbic system--roid rage; Arm/needle injection site--HIV/AIDS: Heart--heart attack; Liver--cysts and liver cancer.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Scholastic, Inc.
Hair replacement: what works, what doesn't. (includes related information on hair care products)
FDA Consumer; 4/1/1997; Hanover, Larry

Hair loss in men and women is traumatic for many, and more than $1 billion is spent annually trying to cover hair loss. Products such as minoxidil and hairpieces and different surgical procedures are available to help people feel better about their appearance because of their hair loss.

When the advertising slogan "Be Like Mike" caught America's fancy, it wasn't because every man decided to go for the Michael Jordan look by reaching for a razor and shaving his head.

Sure, men like Jordan, Charles Barkley, and "Star Trek's" Patrick Stewart are part of a small minority who are proud of their baldness. But combating and covering up hair loss hasn't turned into an estimated $1 billion-a-year industry because Americans like the idea of hair collecting in the shower drain.

"It probably represents aging," says Ken Washenik, M.D., director of dermatopharmacology at New York University Medical Center. "I think our concept of a bald person is of an older person. I think anything that reminds us in the mirror every day of the inevitability of aging is less than optimal."

When you talk about restoring hair, you're essentially looking at three different approaches. The first is to medicate, using a 2 percent solution of minoxidil found in Rogaine (and other brands since Pharmacia & Upjohn's patent expired in February 1996). Minoxidil is the only drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for regrowing hair.

That doesn't mean minoxidil is by any means the panacea that men have been searching for since at least 1150 B.C., when Egyptians covered their baldness with a mixture of fats from ibex (a mountain goat), lion, crocodile, serpent, goose, and hippopotamus.

Surgical procedures, including hair transplantation and scalp reduction, are another modern-day approach. And, finally, there's the solution that Julius Caesar, according to legend, used in ancient days--cover it up. The most powerful man in the Roman Empire is said to have turned to the ceremonial wreath of laurel leaves to hide his ever-emerging scalp. The modern alternative is the hairpiece.

Uncovering Baldness

When discussing baldness, which affects an estimated 40 million men and 20 million women in the United States, the topic is generally about a hereditary condition called androgenetic alopecia. Ninety-five percent of hair loss is of this variety.

Male-pattern baldness refers to the upward retreat of the hairline from the forehead, as well as an expanding area of fallout from the crown of the head. In the end, all that might be left is a horse-shoe-shaped fringe around the sides and back of the head. Female-pattern baldness, which recently has received more attention since Pharmacia & Upjohn began packaging and marketing Rogaine separately for women, refers to a diffuse pattern of hair loss throughout the scalp.

Research continues in search of ways to treat androgenetic alopecia and allow hair to sprout in barren scalps. But, at this time, all you can do, if you're a man, is to look at your father's head and your mother's father's head to see how they fared, because chances are you'll wind up with a similar fate. In addition, female-pattern baldness can be passed down from mother to daughter.

"I think it's just the luck of the draw what your genetics are," says Allan Kayne, M.D., a dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle.

In male- and female-pattern baldness, the culprit is something called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, which is derived from androgen, a male hormone. Circulating through the bloodstream, androgen is converted to DHT by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. Those with greater enzyme activity have more DHT binding to hair-follicle receptors. If flooded by DHT, the follicles sprout thinner and thinner hairs until nothing regrows, and the follicles eventually wither away.


Currently, if you want to regrow hair, topical minoxidil is the only approved way to go. As Washenik explains, no one is quite certain how minoxidil, an oral medication originally approved to treat high blood pressure, works to grow hair.

To be effective, minoxidil must be used twice a day. It works better on those who are younger and whose hair loss is recent, according to clinical studies by Pharmacia & Upjohn.

Those studies show that 26 percent of men between 18 and 49 reported moderate to dense hair regrowth after four months of Rogaine treatment. An additional 33 percent had minimal hair regrowth. Almost 20 percent of women between 18 and 45 had moderate regrowth, while an additional 40 percent showed minimal regrowth.

A company spokesman said the research accounted for the fully pigmented hair fibers normally seen on the scalp and not vellus hair, which is more like peach fuzz. Many doctors, however, say the number of their patients who have as much success is much lower, and some find that only vellus hair appears.

"I have not been that impressed that it helps regrow hair," Kayne says. "I think that occurs in a very small minority."

One plus that Denise Cook, M.D., medical officer in FDA's division of dermatologic and dental drug products, points out is that patients report a decrease in shedding due to minoxidil use, though whether that perception is the result of fewer hairs being lost or more hairs being produced is unknown. Normally, you should lose only about 100 hairs a day.

One possible side effect of minoxidil is an itchy scalp. Another drawback is that it must be used for life or any regrown hair will fall out. Also, only those people losing hair on the crown, not in front, are candidates for regrowth.

Researchers are optimistic that more products to boost hair regrowth will be coming down the pike. For example, Proscar (finasteride), now used to treat enlarged prostate glands, has anti-androgen properties that may make it marketable as a hair-loss prescription, Washenik says. Theoretically, he says, if a drug can be targeted to halt the conversion of testosterone to DHT in the scalp region only, it could stop hair from falling out. He foresees combinations of medications as the wave of the future.


Twenty years ago, many people felt they risked looking like a Cabbage Patch doll if they chose surgery to eliminate baldness. Now, says Carlos Puig, D.O., director of Puig Medical Group, which is headquartered in Houston, better surgical techniques--used by increasingly skilled surgeons--are getting more eye-pleasing results.

"When I started in 1973 ... it was like the Stone Age," the cosmetic surgeon says, referring to the equipment and techniques in use. Now, he says, surgeons have learned to create a much more natural-looking hair line, using scalpels to cut either small slits or holes in the scalp to receive transplanted hair.

While there are numerous types of surgery, they can be sifted into two main categories: transplantation and scalp reduction.

Transplantation involves moving hair from densely covered sites on the sides or back of the head to bald areas of the scalp.

The key to success, explains Anthony Santangelo, president of the American Hair Loss Council, is to have good sites on the sides or back of the head from which to move hairs. Otherwise, patients can't expect ample coverage. Because their hair loss is diffuse, women generally lack good donor sites, making transplantation impractical for them.

The biggest improvement in transplants is with "micro" or "mini" grafts. "You're looking at one to two hairs shot into the head with a needle," Santangelo says. "It achieves a very, very fine, natural-looking hair line. The significant difference there is you need a lot of hair to do that."

Surgeons also use larger round plugs of seven to 10 hairs. Line grafts, the shifting of strips of nine to 12 hairs, are common, too.

One thing to keep in mind is that prosthetic hair fibers for transplantation are banned by FDA. Implanting them, according to Stephen Rhodes, acting chief of FDA's plastic and reconstructive surgery devices branch, caused a high incidence of adverse reactions, including infection.

If male-pattern baldness has left you with too much balding area to cover, you may benefit from scalp reduction: the surgical removal of large sections of a bald scalp. Extenders and expanders, elastic devices placed under the skin to stretch the hair-bearing scalp regions on the side of the head, have been used as a complement to reduction surgery.

Another surgical method is the flap technique, which rotates hair-bearing scalp areas from the sides or moves those areas from the back forward. The flap technique has the highest complication rate, though, Puig says. Bleeding, scarring and infection can occur from surgery. But advances, such as knowing what size flap to use and how to enhance blood supply to the region, have cut down on the visibility of scars.


Finally, if you prefer to dodge the pain, time and cost of surgery, there's always the old, reliable hairpiece.

Obviously, all toupees and wigs are not created equal. Just as the transplant is only as good as the surgeon, the hairpiece is only as good as the person creating it and the materials used.

There are a variety of ways of affixing the hairpiece, which consists of human or synthetic hair implanted one hair at a time into a nylon netting. No method is permanent.

The hair weave involves sewing a wig into existing hair.

Also there are more traditional methods: You can use bonding (a type of glue), metal clips, or simple tape to attach the hairpiece to the scalp. Unlike the weaves, these give you the option to take the hairpiece on or off with ease. Many companies advertise "hair systems" or "hair clubs," which, according to Santangelo, offer check-ups to clean, color and tighten the hairpiece.

Lark Lambert, consumer complaint coordinator for FDA's Office of Cosmetics and Colors, notes that in addition to maintaining the cleanliness of hairpieces and wigs, it is important not to neglect the scalp under the wig. Keeping it clean and healthy avoids skin irritation and disease, he says. Also, as a precautionary safety measure, first-time users of hairpiece adhesives and solvents should test a patch of skin for 48 hours to determine possible skin sensitization to these products.

Health-Related Hair Loss

While hair loss is more harmful to the psyche than anything else, some causes of baldness may represent serious health problems. That's why it's important to talk about hair loss with a physician.

One problem, says FDA's Cook, could be a condition called alopecia areata. It's an autoimmune disease of unknown cause in which inflammatory cells attack the bulbs of the follicles under the scalp, leaving hairless patches. In more serious cases, hair may fall out from the entire head--eyebrows and beard included--and the entire body. Many times, though, the hair returns spontaneously.

Childbirth, severe malnutrition, chemotherapy, thyroid problems, and a form of lupus can also cause hair loss.

Something as simple as pigtails or cornrows, if worn too long, can cause hair loss, too, because of the stress they cause to the hair shaft.

The medical opinion concerning the role of emotional stress in balding is mixed. If stress does play a role, however, it's only at times of extreme emotional trauma, according to Kayne at the University of Washington Medical Center.

Mythical Treatments

The mythology of hair loss is a book unto itself. Wearing hats won't cause it, doctors say. Nor will standing on your head to increase blood flow cure it. Massaging your scalp and brushing your hair won't save you. Toweling off your head lightly rather than vigorously will only postpone the inevitable for a few days.

Perhaps the biggest myth is that cleaning your scalp of sebum (the semifluid secretion of glands attached to the follicle) will unclog those follicles and allow hair to grow. Surgeons will tell you that when they're performing transplants, there's no trapped hair to be found.

In 1989, FDA banned all nonprescription hair creams, lotions, or other external products claiming to grow hair or prevent baldness. And it has taken action against companies that continue to sell such products. In 1996, the agency sent a warning letter to Daniel Rogers Laboratories Inc., of Paramus, N.J., the manufacturer of "Natural Hairs," for claiming its product could promote hair growth and prevent hair loss. Two years earlier, after an FDA investigation, a U.S. district court judge enjoined the marketing of "Solution 109 Herbal Shampoo" because of claims that the product warded off hair loss.

Advertisements for "hair farming" products and others that hint they can regrow hair are still plentiful. But if you're desperate, keep one thing in mind:

"There will be never be a secret [ingredient] that works for hair loss," NYU's Washenik says. And, if they were to find it, he says: "It will be on the cover of the New York Times. It will be on the nightly news....When this happens, it's going to be wildness. You're not going to need an expert to tell you the name of the drug."

RELATED ARTICLE: The Thick And Thin Of Hair Cosmetics

While Rogaine and other minoxidil-based products are giving consumers hopes of regrowing hair, another part of the hair-care industry has been jumping into the fray.

Drugstore chains, beauty shops, and salons are offering a number of products claiming to make hair appear thicker or fuller. While they won't solve baldness, such products can help women in particular by giving the appearance of more hair--if, and only if, the products are used regularly.

"The reality is," says Anthony Santangelo, president of the American Hair Loss Council, "[the products] just build hair for the day."

A quick walk down the store aisle shows a multitude of shampoos, conditioners, gels, mousses, and volumizers competing for your dollars. Many labeling claims target people with thinning hair, while others hint they can regrow hair, creating controversy about whether such a claim constitutes going too far. Any product claiming to regrow hair would have to file a new drug application. The Food and Drug Administration has approved only one product, the drug minoxidil, for regrowing hair.

"It's marketing; it's puffery," Santangelo says. "They'll take it as close as they possibly can without crossing the line, and they'll run with it."

Many of these products seem to thicken hair by coating it with chemicals called polymers. Hair has a negative charge, and the polymers' positive charge causes the polymers to adhere to the hair shaft, says Charles Fox, a Fair Lawn, N.J., consultant to the cosmetics industry. That results in better hair manageability and shine, he says. The hair also retains moisture, causing the shaft to swell and its diameter to expand slightly.

Also, says Stanley Milstein, Ph.D., special assistant to the director of FDA's Office of Cosmetics and Colors, some products coat the hair with various oils, waxes and silicone, claiming to restore moisture balance as they thicken hair.

Clarence Robbins, vice president of advanced technology for Colgate-Palmolive Co. and author of Chemical and Physical Behavior of Human Hair, says that if the products work, it's because they keep hair shafts from sliding past each other (think of the fly-away hair you get after blow-drying on a winter day.) In that way, hair volume appears greater.

If you're one to use bleach (peroxide) occasionally, he says, the bleach can achieve that sliding effect. Perms also make your hair wavier and fuller looking.

Many promoters of these products say their pro-vitamin B5 (panthenol) formulas can lead to fuller hair. Experts say don't bet on it, and according to the agency, the claim has never been proved.

By the way, there are products that simply color your scalp to create the appearance of hair. "But get any closer than 20 feet from an individual, they're gonna see your head's been spray-painted or covered with powder," Santangelo says.

Larry Hanover is a writer Mount Laurel, N.J.

COPYRIGHT 1997 U.S. Government Printing Office

Regulatory Intelligence Data; 1/4/2005; INDSTRY GROUP 91
Regulatory Intelligence Data


1/4/2005 - WASHINGTON -- Airmen who take androstenedione to increase muscle mass will soon have to ditch the supplement and just do extra repetitions at the gym. Under a new law that takes effect Jan. 20, the prohormone androstenedione will be classified as a Schedule III controlled substance. Schedule III substances are those defined by the government as having a potential for abuse. The drug, commonly called "andro," is used by bodybuilders to help build mass, said Col. (Dr.) Vincent F. Carr, the Air Force's chief consultant for internal medicine services. "Andro includes a number of compounds which altogether are a precursor to the male hormone testosterone," Dr. Carr said. "Folks take this to bulk up their muscles and increase their ability to weight lift and to gain endurance for their exercise programs." Other drugs listed as Schedule III substances include the anesthetic ketamine, called "Special K" by the club-goers who use it; testosterone, and forms of codeine and morphine. Once ingested, Dr. Carr said, androstenedione is converted to testosterone. Testosterone is responsible for developing such male characteristics as muscle size and body hair. For androstenedione to create muscle mass, a user must take it in an amount that also causes side effects that are damaging to his or her health. "Part of the problem is that if you take large amounts of androstenedione over a long period of time, you have the potential to develop liver disease, liver failure, heart disease, kidney disease and an acceleration of hardening of the arteries," Dr. Carr said. "For ladies, it may block some of the female hormones, so they may experience symptoms such as male- pattern baldness." Because androstenedione creates artificial levels of testosterone in the body, natural production of the hormone can be reduced. Slowing the normal production of testosterone also affects a user's body. "A male may find that because he doesn't have normal testosterone production, his testicles get smaller," Dr. Carr said. Use of androstenedione is also known to reduce sperm count in men and to reduce breast size in women. The drug may also have psychological effects. "One of the biggest problems that gets users into trouble is that aggressive behavior manifests itself," Dr. Carr said. "They get into fights, and that could have a major effect on the work environment." Androstenedione is found in many bodybuilding supplements that are available in nutrition and fitness stores. But Lt. Col. Ronald L. Blakely, the staff food and drug safety officer for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, said the products are no longer available in AAFES stores. "Due to health concerns, the four dietary supplements that contained androstenedione . were phased out by December 2002," Colonel Blakely said. "AAFES' direct store operations never offered nor-androstenedione supplements, also known as `nor-andro' supplements." Colonel Blakely also said that General Nutrition Center concessions no longer sell "andro" or "nor-andro" products. On Jan. 20, androstenedione may no longer be legally purchased. It will also be illegal to use the prohormone, even if it was purchased before then. Use, possession, or distribution of androstenedione after Jan. 20 will be a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.



Baldness Treatment Breakthrough? / Researchers find gene tied to form of hair loss
Newsday; 1/30/1998; Jamie Talan


Baldness Treatment Breakthrough? / Researchers find gene tied to form of hair loss


New York researchers have identified a gene linked to a rare form of hair loss, a gene they believe controls the human hair cycle. The finding could one day lead to new treatments for more common types of baldness, they say. A mutant gene, dubbed "hairless," was discovered in genetic material taken from a Pakistani family with seven members who have a rare form of alopecia, or hair loss. They are born without body or facial hair - no eyelashes or eyebrows - and lose all of the hair on top of their heads. The mutation appears to go back for many generations, and those affected share a single gene mutation on chromosome 8. A similar gene mutation exists in hairless mice. "We were thrilled to find this gene," said Angela Christiano, a professor of dermatology at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in Manhattan. "This finding gives us endless possibilities that may allow us to effectively treat hair loss and baldness."

The study appears today in the journal Science. The university was issued a patent for the gene discovery yesterday. No one knows whether the gene mutation would be similar to genes responsible for other forms of hair loss. Christiano, however, and her colleagues believe that this gene turns on the whole hair cycle. "The hair cycle is regulated like a clock and needs to pass through certain checkpoints before a new hair can grow," she said. "We're hoping this is the first checkpoint." But she does not expect to find that male and female pattern baldness is triggered by a single gene. "It is too powerful a gene to be involved with something so common as pattern baldness. There are probably many genes and other factors involved."

"The beauty of having the gene is that it should introduce a whole new methodology to the design of hair-growth substances," the scientist said. For Patricia Garofalo, a Garden City nurse and mother who has had the rare condition for 20 years, the finding of any gene "is a miracle." "This is very exciting for us," said Garofalo, 44. "I have always felt that we were at the door [of a major discovery], ready to jump." Garofalo's 13-year-old son also has the condition. The door she is hoping to open is gene therapy. At present, the Columbia University researchers are moving forward to see whether they can transplant a good copy of the gene into mice with the hairless mutation. "If it works, I'd be willing to try a similar process in the Pakistan family," Christiano said. The scientist found the family on an Internet database and contacted their doctors in Pakistan. Columbia researchers collaborated with geneticists at Rockefeller University to scan the entire genome for any mutations. After it was mapped to chromosome 8, they searched for genes that could possibly be related to hair growth. Nothing obvious popped out.
Christiano searched the mouse genome to see if the genes were similar. Indeed, it mapped to the same region, she said. "It was a great moment," she added. "We were thrilled when we discovered that this gene was the same one that had been identified in the hairless mouse." If there's an ability to manipulate these genes, "it would be wonderful," said Dr. Theodore Daly, a dermatologist in Garden City and an expert on alopecia. "Our understanding has been limited by the lack of genetic information. "This is no longer science fiction." Faulty genes will not explain all the problems of hair loss. Dr. Harvey Katzeff, chief of endocrinology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, said that hormones play a major role in male and female pattern baldness. Testosterone triggers hair loss in susceptible individuals, and scientists still have very little understanding of this process.

Copyright 1998, Newsday Inc.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch; 4/4/1994; Dr. Paul Donohue
St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Dear Dr. Donohue: Since you've been harping on hair loss of late, how about a word on what I have been diagnosed with - androgenic alopecia? How common is it? Androgenic alopecia is also called "male-pattern baldness."

Are you surprised to hear of male baldness as a female problem? Both males and females get it, men in the temples and crown, women usually in hair at the top of the head. In women, such baldness is seen at or around menopause. In fact, it is one of the more common symptoms of peri-menopausal years. One in 10 pre-menopausal women has it; one in three post-menopausal women has it.

Minoxidil - Rogaine - a newer treatment aimed at men, has also helped women. Another medicine, spironolactone, is aimed at blocking the woman's male hormone follicle-damaging effect. It helps some women. Ask your doctor about those medicines.

Dear Dr. Donohue: Is Permax a new drug? How effective is it? Does it replace levodopa medicine for Parkinson's disease? My father had Parkinson's disease and used levodopa. Now my husband has it, and he has used levodopa, but his doctor is starting him on Permax. Please comment on this drug. Permax - pergolide - has been around a few years now and has built up a good track record in control of Parkinson's symptoms. It is what is known as an adjuvant drug, meaning it works with another drug. In this case, Permax is added to the patient's levodopa therapy. Trying to explain drug effects can get us into some heavy foliage. Let's just say that the drug enhances the way the body uses levodopa. In that way, it permits a lower dosage of the levodopa.

Dear Dr. Donohue: Can a man who has had bad mumps that caused loss of a testicle father a child?

I can borrow numbers from another situation where men have lost one testicle: At least 80 percent of men who have lost a testicle to cancer go on to bear children. I don't know the specific percentages regarding mumps infection, but I would say the figures are comparable to the cancer experience. In any event, a semen check could establish the man's status.

Dear Dr. Donohue: Any figures available on how successful they are in trying to reverse a man's vasectomy? I had it done, then got remarried, and my new wife wants to have a child. Vasectomy demands a careful decision, because even though reversal can be tried, it won't always be practically successful. I have been informed that the actual reattachment of the severed sperm duct is successful about 90 percent of the time. That's not the whole story, though. I am further informed that fertility returns in only about half the cases. Some say that the body has somehow developed antibodies to the sperm, which then cannot fertilize the egg.

Copyright © 1994, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ABC Good Morning America; 3/21/1997; CHARLES GIBSON
ABC Good Morning America



There is a new treatment for baldness being considered for approval by the Food and Drug Administration. It is called Propecia (ph). It is a milder form of the drug Proscar, which is already used to treat enlarged prostate glands. On Sunday, the maker of this drug, Merck and Company, will release clinical studies saying that Propecia is effective and safe. But the drug can also cause impotency and loss of sex drive in men. It's a small risk, but even so, some men that we went out and talked to say it's not worth it.

1st MAN

No, I would not. Don't you -- see, when I cut my hair, that increased my sex drive. That's why I'm bald?

2nd MAN

Nothing wrong with the way people look, and if you're going bald, you're going bald, and if a woman is bent about how you look, then you need to look for another woman.

3rd MAN

Bald is beautiful. No, I don't know, I wouldn't, personally.

4th MAN

I'd rather just buy a wig and still be able to use it, so to speak.

5th MAN

I want the desire. In fact, come out with a pill for the desire. That'd be better.


Joining me with now on more on this treatment from the American Academy of Dermatology convention in San Francisco is Dr. Wilma Burgfeld, senior dermatologist and clinical researcher at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, who conducted studies on this drug for the Merck Company. Dr. Burgfeld, good to have you with us.

A drug that is normally used for prostate enlargement works on hair loss. How?

Dr. WILMA BURGFELD, Dermatologist

Well, it's through the mechanism of testosterone's conversion to dihyrotestosterone, which is the most potent testosterone, both in males and females, and thought to push or create male-pattern baldness. And by blocking this hormonal conversion, it appears, at least in the animal model and now in the human clinical studies, to be somewhat helpful in impeding male-pattern baldness, and in fact, in some individuals, in regrowing some of their hair.


Rogaine is the drug that I know that is now on the market to treat hair loss. Does that work in the same way as this drug?


No, Rogaine, which is minoxydyl, has been out, and as you know is the only FDA approved drug for hair promotion. Rogaine works at a totally different mechanism, or in a totally different mechanism to the fenestride (ph) or now Propecia. But they are complimentary, at least in the animal studies. They demonstrate that the combination maybe work better than both the individual drugs. But again, the only FDA-approved drug is minoxydyl, or Rogaine.


Rogaine now in the market, as you say, the only FDA-approved drug, and now this new one comes along, its manufacturer seeking FDA approval. How do the two drugs compare in effectiveness in treating hair loss?


Well, having done some of the clinical studies and also looked at the compilation or the putting-together of all the clinical studies, it appears that this new drug, fenestride or Propecia, as it's -- will be called, will work about the same level, about 40 percent, in regrowing hair. And so one of the problems that we always have in male-pattern baldness is the fact that previous to minoxydyl, we had nothing. Then we had minoxydyl, which had some efficacy, worked well, had good safety. And now we have a new drug that looks to have about the same safety record, about the same regrowth-of-hair record. And so we at least have something for this population that wants to grow their hair back.


But this one may have some side effects that would, perhaps, give the user -- would experience loss of sex drive or impotence or give them other sexual performance problems. Serious?


Well, we worried about that, we worried about that, all of us who were studying the drug, as well as the Merck Company, who is very involved in sorting that issue out. My understanding in the collection of the data that is not a problem, and if, in the rare case that it does occur, if the male, specifically male, continues the therapy, it disappears, or if they discontinue the therapy, it disappears. So it has not been a big problem, especially at the dosing that is going to occur, at that's at one milligram. Whereas the Proscar for the enlarged prostate gland is at five milligrams, and maybe, as you know and the public knows, that things are related to the type of drug as well as the dose of the drug. And so it seems that this theoretical problem of decreased libido, maybe decreased sexual activity, is really a very, very minimal problem, and will resolve itself even if you continue the drug.


Just final question, this -- the research that you did on this, was it sponsored by the Merck Company?


The research I did was sponsored by the Merck Company. The Cleveland Clinic contracts with the companies when we do studies, so I am an independent, uninvolved researcher in this particular clinical study. But I can tell you that I did not have an unblinded study. My study was blinded, and I just recently heard the results of all of the clinical studies, which look very promising.


All right. At least some possibilities, then, of...




... of relief for people who suffer with hair loss. Thanks very much, Dr. Burgfeld, appreciate it.


Thank you.

(Commercial Break)

Transcribed by Federal Document Clearing House, Inc. under license from American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. This transcript may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission. For further information please contact ABC's Office of the General Counsel.

Content and Programming copyright (c) 1997 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

Supernutrition for women. (interview with Ann Louise Gittleman) (Interview)
American Fitness; 9/1/1992
When it comes to the healthiest diet, what's good for men may not be good for women.

According to cutting edge nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman, M.S., former nutrition director at the Pritikin Longevity Center, the gender gap in health research extends to the area of nutritional counseling. Today's "healthiest" diet recommendations (high-carbohydrate, low-fat) are designed with men in mind. Women "are eating themselves into hormonal dysfunction" following diets that were tested on a man's different body chemistry. Gittleman outlines the first scientifically based dietary program for a woman's unique nutritional needs in her latest book, Supernutrition for Women: A Food-Wise Guide for Health, Beauty, Energy and Immunity (Bantam Paperback) which recently won the prestigious "Excellence in Medical Communication" award.

After receiving a master's degree in nutrition education from Columbia University, Gittleman served as the chief dietician of the pediatric clinic at Bellevue Hospital, Bilingual Nutritionist for the USDA, Women's Infants' and Children's food program at a Yale University health clinic and nutritional health consultant for the first holistic medical group in Connecticut. Gittleman's first bestseller, Beyond Pritikin, broke new ground in the low-fat, high-carbohydrate mindset by advocating that the absence of essential fats in this type of diet was blocking weight loss attempts and hindering good health for many people.

Her vast counseling experience in nutritional health concerns for women opens up a fascinating field of new information and concerns. She currently conducts her nutritional counseling practice from Santa Fe, New Mexico. American Fitness is proud to feature the following interview.

American Fitness: Why did you follow up Beyond Pritikin with a book about women?

Ann Louise Gittleman: Recent Congressional hearings have confirmed that women are being excluded from clinical research. Yet, the unique biological processes specific to women, like menstruation, pregnancy, lactation and menopause, make women's nutrition/health needs quite different from men's.

Menopause is one of the least understood medical conditions we have, though it affects 100% of women between the ages of 43 and 55. We have appallingly very little information on the endocrine and tissue changes that occur in the female body. Research is also sadly lacking on the female breast. Someone needed to shed more light on female nutrition as it relates to a woman's life cycle. I felt that with my educational background and hands-on experience of over 15 years of counseling women of all ages and from all walks of life that I had to share my observations and research.

AF: Women, more than ever, are trying to trim the fat and shake the salt. Are they making progress?

ALG: There appears to be a greater nutritional consciousness in the 1990s than ever before. However, studies of female eating habits compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the late '80s tell a different story. The most interesting statistic to come out of the USDA study was that the average fat intake of women is 37%. A 37% fat intake is quite high when you consider there has been a dramatic decrease in the consumption of products like red meat, eggs and whole milk over the past decade.

AF: Where is the fat coming from?

ALG: Women are replacing basic healthy dietary staples like eggs and meat with high-fat baked goods like muffins and croissants, cheese, salad dressings and rich desserts.

Many times I see a woman reward herself with a decadent sweet like chocolate fudge ice cream at dinner time because she was "so good all day." One cup of gourmet ice cream contains a whopping 11 teaspoons of fat, without the beneficial nutrients to accompany it. That is really high dietary treason. To reach even a 30% fat diet, most fats should be limited to a total of 10 teaspoons per day. Sadly, women are eating fats that are not even natural to the body, such as margarine, shortening and commercially processed vegetable oil.

AF: How does this tie in with your recommendation that women should return eggs and meat into their diet?

ALG: Supernutrition for Women has an entire chapter devoted to the subject of meat and eggs, entitled "Why Women Need Meat and Eggs." In moderation and as part of a well balanced diet, I see no reason why hormone-free meat and eggs from free range chickens should be excluded in the female diet plan. As a matter of fact, meat is the only source of "heme" or blood iron, the kind that is most easily absorbed into the body. It also helps the body absorb the non-heme iron contained in enriched grains and beans.

I have worked with many vegetarians and diet-conscious women whom I was not able to get well until they began to eat a small amount of meat again. Besides being high in iron, meat is also a very high dietary source of zinc and manganese. Too little iron shows itself as fatigue, paleness and anemia. Ridges in the fingernails can be a clinical sign of iron deficiency.

AF: Why should women eat eggs?

ALG: Eggs are a high source of the sulphur bearing amino acid L-cysteine--very important for hair, skin and nails. Sulphur is hard to find in our current food sources. Eating four to six eggs per week is recommended. I tell all of my clients to purchase fertile eggs at their local health food store or food co-op. I also suggest eggs be cooked for a minimum of seven minutes if hard boiled or five minutes if poached to eliminate salmonella.

AF: Why should a woman's diet include certain oils?

ALG: I wrote about my findings on fats and oil in Beyond Pritikin. I witnessed firsthand the plusses and minuses of a no-to-low-fat diet at the Pritikin Center. The Pritikin diet is a 10% fat diet, with a high carbohydrate content from grain, beans and vegetables and limited protein.

What I discovered was that many people who followed a Pritikin-style diet had shown signs of essential fatty acid deficiency: brittle fingernails, dry and falling hair, wrinkled skin, food and environmental allergies, fatigue, sexual problems and immune disorders. I also discovered that despite their low-fat diets, many women could not lose weight.

My research on essential fatty acids proved they are just that, they are essential. As I said before, the right kind of fats--essential fat--stimulates a mechanism in the body that in turn burns fat. Studies now show that the addition of essential fats to the diet assists weight control, cardiovascular disorders and a host of hair, skin and nail conditions. Essential fat deficiencies are linked to a weakened immune system that offers a defenseless home for viral, parasitic and bacterial invaders that lead to many health problems.

AF: Why do women on high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets need to eat constantly and binge frequently?

ALG: Without fat, more food is needed to satisfy your appetite and meet energy needs. Fat in the diet gives a sense of fullness, or satiety. When the body is fat-starved, one is hungry all the time, tending to overeat and binge, particularly on carbohydrates. With a small amount of the right fats, a woman's body weight will stabilize, her appetite will normalize and she will burn calories more efficiently. The natural result is lasting weight loss.

AF: What are the essential fats--and how do you get them?

ALG: One can get the essential fatty acids from a variety of foods such as fish, flax oil, 100% expeller pressed vegetable oils and botanicals such as evening primrose. The inclusion of at least one to two tablespoons of oil a day is extremely important. Not only for health of the cell membrane and the prostaglandins (tissue-like hormones), it is helpful to women, particularly, because oil is a carrier for calcium into the tissues.

AF: What should women eliminate from their diet?

ALG: Margarine, vegetable shortening, processed vegetable oils and all the baked goods that contain these alien fats. I suggest women limit or eliminate food inhibitors which affect vital female mineral absorption, like caffeine, sugar, nicotine and the use of aluminum. These particular substances affect both calcium and iron utilization.

AF: What are your recommendations regarding calcium?

ALG: Calcium alone will not prevent osteoporosis. Other minerals like magnesium and boron, as well as Vitamin D are needed. I suggest a calcium and magnesium based powder to my female patients called Calci-Fem.

It is also interesting to note that too much exercise, if you are very thin, can create a calcium loss. Excess exercise makes the body stop producing estrogen as in menopause. Without estrogen, the body cannot use calcium. A moderate aerobic exercise program is essential to prevent osteoporosis. The stress of exercise creates a kind of electricity that goes right into the bone to enable calcium to deposit there. The bottom line, dietarily, is to maintain a particularly rich calcium diet through the age of 24 when calcium continues to accumulate in the bone and bone density can maximize.

AF: Are there any other minerals that are important to women?

ALG: There are many minerals which work in combination with each other. Magnesium is important to women since it is found in over 300 body enzyme processes. It is also nature's tranquilizer. A woman who is jittery or startles at the sound of a small noise may well be magnesium deficient.

AF: What about zinc?

ALG: Zinc is extremely important for women, as it is for men. In my experience with over 7,000 women, I found magnesium seems to be the most deficient mineral, while zinc comes up very close as the second most deficient mineral. My feelings are zinc may be deficient for several reasons. One is women are not eating as many zinc-rich foods as they used to. Sources like liver, brewer's yeast and meat are not part of the nutritionally chic'90s diet standard.

Vegetarian-based diets are very high in copper. Copper is the mineral that competes with zinc in absorption. A copper toxic woman is one who can suffer from anxiety attacks, panic attacks and is prone to candida albicans infections. Excess copper is probably the most underrated toxic mineral problem that we have in this day and age. The strange thing is that toxic copper does not show through a traditional blood test. It is only through tissue samples of hair that I have found how many women are storing this bio-unavailable or unbound copper.

Women who crave chocolate and women who drink a great deal of regular tea, for example, may be very copper toxic. Racing thoughts, insomnia, fibroid tumors and female baldness, as well as migraine headaches and numerous food and environmental ailments have all been attributed to copper toxicity.

AF: You also include some recipes in your new book.

ALG: I have interesting tips and recipes for sea vegetables, ways to free food from fat, salt and sugar as well as a guide for dining out whether you are at sea, on land or in the air. I also included my own "fast food" grocery list. Like most women I counsel, I love to eat but do not like to spend a great deal of time cooking so I try to make it as easy as I can for my readers and clients.

AF: What's your basic advice for women in regard to good nutritional health?

ALG: Just because a little bit of something is good does not mean a lot is better. I see many women overdoing complex carbohydrates with a resultant problem of a mineral deficient system. Too much fiber in the form of bran, grain or beans can wash calcium, zinc and iron out of the system. Too many grains from wheat, rye, oats and barley can magnify a gluten intolerance and create aches and joint pains in sensitive individuals.

Many years ago I read a definition about health. It goes like this: Health is that which we do not appreciate until we feel it slipping away from us. Health is what we use up for 60 years in order to gain wealth, after which we use up our wealth to try to regain our health.

Let's hope we can turn that around.

For Ann Louise Gittleman's books Beyond Pritkin and Supernutrition for Women, phone (800) 888-4353.

COPYRIGHT 1992 Aerobics and Fitness Association of America
THE BALDNESS CURE; It is being hailed as the pill that will banish hair loss. But are the side-effects too high a price to pay?
The Daily Mail (London, England); 8/6/2002; Anderson, Amy

IT'S the answer to the prayers of millions of men: a cure for baldness.

Now experts are claiming to have found it in the latest hair-growth drug, Propecia. Licensed in the UK in September 1999, British men have already reported amazing results. In America, it is widely prescribed under private health care, but is not available on the NHS yet because it is classed as a cosmetic treatment. Despite its lack of availability in the UK, many have been getting hold of the drug privately, via the internet or from specialist hair clinics. So how does Propecia work? It suppresses the hormone that causes baldness in men, and the makers claim it is 80 per cent successful in slowing down or halting hair loss, and in 30 per cent of cases can actually stimulate new hair growth. They also say the drug, which costs [pound]175 for a three-month dose, is three times more effective than the other well-known hair-growth treatment, Regaine. One major drawback is that the drug can have serious side-effects, as listed below, and we advise men to consult their GP first.

So, is it as effective as its makers claim? AMY ANDERSON talks to four men who have taken the drug for between five and 14 months.

RICHARD PEDLEY is a single 33-year old barrister from Norwich and has no children. Richard says: I BEGAN taking Propecia after losing hair from the front of my head in my mid-20s. I always thought of my hair as one of my best features and felt I was too young to go bald.

The drug had a lot of publicity, which is how I got to hear about it.

But I wanted to make sure I was aware of all the side-effects and risks.

I found some information on the internet, and several scientific studies were linked to the main UK Propecia site. There was a lot about sideeffects, which included weight gain, headaches and skin disorders.

I also found several anti-Propecia sites. But I found more scientific information backing the drug than diminishing it. I also knew someone who had been taking it for three months and hadn't any problems.

After eight months, my hair loss has stopped, although I've seen no actual hair gain. But I've been told I need to be on it for between a year and 15 months before re-growth begins and, even then, there's no guarantees.

But friends have noticed the change and all the bald jokes have stopped.

I'll take it until my hair comes back or I stop being vain.

They warn you that the hair you have gained may begin to fall out again.

However, I hope as I get older I'll become less concerned about hair loss and more concerned with starting a family, though at this stage in my life, I'd prefer to keep my hair.

JERRY LONERGAN, 49, an IT consultant from Wool in Dorset, is married to Mary, 42, a sales executive. They have two daughters aged 11 and 13. Jerry says: I WORK in a very young profession and, as I'm the oldest in my office, I feel self-conscious about my age.

I enjoy keeping myself up to date with clothes, and I go to the gym three times a week. But when my hair started to thin about three years ago I began to panic. Despite knowing it was nature's course, I decided do something about it.

I'd heard about Minoxidol and Regaine, but the general internet consensus seemed to be that Propecia was the first treatment that actually worked.

I found it difficult to get hold of in the UK, so I turned to the internet and quickly found the company website. Within minutes I had bought a three-month supply. It seemed very simple. I had to fill in a medical history form that the site told me would be looked at by a doctor and then either approved or rejected.

Three days later the pills arrived and I started taking them. That was five months ago. Within a month I noticed far fewer hairs on my pillow, and now my hair loss appears to have stopped.

However, while my hair seems thicker, I'm not sure that I have actually sprouted any new hairs yet.

The only side-effect I noticed was a temporary dip in my libido, which they had already warned me about. It lasted for about two months. But I think it's worth both the side-effects and the money.

MICHAEL WHITE, 60, owns a hotel in Jersey and is married to Uta, 59. They have two grownup children, Angie, 35, and Terry, 40. Michael says: I BEGAN losing hair rapidly in my mid-30s and it was a family joke that, whenever the shower was blocked, it was bound to be Dad's hair in their somewhere.

Despite being able to laugh about it, I also feel bald men do not look as attractive as men with hair. My wife has never seemed to bother about it, but I always keep my eye out for the latest cure.

I've tried just about everything. The first thing that made a difference was Minoxidol. I wouldn't say it caused much new growth but it definitely made my existing hair thicker and I stopped losing it. I have actually carried on using Minoxidol with Propecia, after checking with my doctor.

I read about Propecia in the Daily Mail over a year ago. It sounded great but it proved quite hard to track down. Eventually, my daughter found it on the internet and gave me the number to ring.

I had to answer a lot of health questions, but I found this reassuring. I've been taking the pills for 14 months and they've made a huge difference.

Apparently, it's better to start taking them before you lose too much, because it is most effective at strengthening existing hair. But I have noticed new hair after only a few months. A couple of friends have had a laugh at my expense and think I've had a hair transplant, but I don't care.

With my new, thicker hair I'm the one who's laughing.

ROY RAYMOND, 50, is a divorced building contractor from Fulham, West London.

He has one son, aged 15.

Roy says: MY hair had been thinning quite rapidly for about the past four years, but it didn't bother me until I separated from my wife a year ago.

Being single again at 49 made me more aware of it. I thought it made me look much older.

My wife hadn't minded my hair loss, but I've found women on the whole are quite biased against men with receding hair lines. So I decided to try to do something about it.

A friend told me about Propecia - he had been taking it for over a year and was completely convinced. But he didn't have as much hair loss as me, so it was hard to tell whether there was a marked improvement.

I was sceptical at first. I've always thought these 'miracle' cures are hyped up and don't really deliver - and at [pound]175 for three months, it was a lot to risk on the off-chance.

But the general consensus, even from my GP, was that Propecia does work. He said he didn't see any problems for me taking it in terms of my health history, provided I wasn't planning to start a family.

Obviously, that was the last thing on my mind having just separated from my wife. However, I asked the doctor at the company which sold me the Propecia if I could still have children once I had stopped taking the drug and he said yes.

Knowing the pros and cons, I ordered my first course ten months ago. I didn't notice anything for the first couple of months - and no sideeffects - and was thinking about giving it up because it was expensive.

But then my barber said, totally unprompted, that he thought my hair seemed thicker. I told him about the Propecia and he said whatever I was doing seemed to be working.

Now I have noticed a significant difference in the thickness of my hair, which also feels stronger.

I think Propecia has taken my hair back to the condition it was in a year before I started taking it.

I will definitely continue with it, despite the cost, because I'm convinced it will eventually give me a decent covering of hair.

THE FACTS Who can take it

PROPECIA should be used by men only. It treats male-pattern baldness to increase hair growth on the scalp and prevent further thinning.

Male-pattern hair loss - androgenetic alopecia - is a common condition, often resulting in a receding hairline and/or balding on the top of the head.

Once hair loss has occurred over a long period, the hair may be lost permanently. It is thought to be caused by a combination of family history and a particular male hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Men with male-pattern hair loss have more DHT in some parts of their scalp than others, resulting in bald areas.

Because the hormone is present in such small levels in women, it will not work on female hair loss.

When it should not be taken

IF YOU have an allergy to any of the ingredients in Propecia.

Symptoms may include skin rash or swelling of the lips or face and you should stop taking it immediately if any of these occur.

IF YOU are on other forms of medication or have any chronic existing health conditions.

IF YOU are trying to start a family.

If the active ingredient in Propecia is absorbed by a woman who then has a male baby, it may cause it to have abnormal sex organs.

How it works

PROPECIA, a finasteride-based drug, lowers DHT levels in the scalp, helping to reverse the balding process. It does not affect hair on other parts of the body.

Men with mild to moderate, but not complete, hair loss can expect to benefit.

Possible side-effects

TEMPORARY difficulty in achieving an erection.

A LOWERED libido DECREASED amount of semen released during sex NIPPLE area swelling and/or tenderness SKIN rash, itchiness HIVES (pinkish, itchy swellings on the skin) TESTICLE pain.

FOR more information about Propecia call 01534 510 271 or visit the website www.propecia.co.uk

COPYRIGHT 2002 Solo Syndication Limited

The hairy truth
New Straits Times; 4/11/2002; Manveet Kaur
New Straits Times

The hairy truth
Byline: Manveet Kaur
Edition: The City Advertiser; 2*
Section: WoMan
Column: Hometruths

FOR some teens, having a bad hair day strikes more often than not. Balding or hair loss may seem like something only adults need to worry about. Most people lose about 50 to 100 hairs a day, and the hairs are replaced - in the same spot on your head. This amount of hair loss is totally normal. But when teens begin to lose more than the usual amount of hair, it can mean that something is wrong.

It is not normal for teens to lose their hair. They should get help, says Rozanna Chung, a trichologist in Kuala Lumpur. Hair loss can be caused by many things, and although sometimes the hair grows back, sometimes it doesn't. So if a teen is experiencing hair loss, he or she should see a doctor who can determine why the hair is falling out and suggest treatment, if necessary.

Although there are many reasons for hair loss, almost 95 per cent of people who lose their hair suffer from common baldness or androgenetic alopecia. This is caused by several factors - getting older, hormones called androgens, and genetics, Chung explains.

This condition affects both men and women. Men can begin losing their hair as early as their teens or early 20s. A receding hairline and gradual disappearance of hair from the crown is called male pattern baldness. Most women don't have noticeable thinning hair until their 40s or later. In women, female pattern baldness is typically a general thinning over the entire scalp, with the most hair loss at the crown.

There is also a condition called alopecia areata, a skin disease that results in hair loss on the scalp and sometimes elsewhere on the body. Alopecia areata is thought to be an autoimmune disease, in which the hair follicles are damaged by a person's own immune system. The immune system mistakenly attacks the cells, tissues and organs of a person's body.

Alopecia areata usually starts as one or more small, round bald patches on the scalp and can progress to total hair loss. Both guys and girls can get it, and it often begins in childhood. The hair usually grows back in six months to two years, but not always.

Another medical condition that causes baldness is called trichotillomania, a psychological disorder in which kids and teens repeatedly pull their hair out. It results in areas of baldness and damaged hairs of different lengths. They need to get help to stop pulling their hair out.

Some types of medication can cause hair loss. Beta blockers, which are taken for heart problems, amphetamines in diet drugs and chemotherapy drugs for cancer can cause hair loss. Some cancers like leukaemia and lymphoma can cause hair loss even before treatment begins.

Having your hair chemically curled, getting a perm, or getting your hair coloured, bleached or straightened can cause damage and make your hair fall out. If you get these procedures done too often or if they are done incorrectly, you may see bald spots, says Chung.

Another kind of baldness, called traction alopecia, is caused by wearing your hair in braids that are too tight, which causes the hair to break. This occurs mostly at the edges of their hairlines.

Poor nutrition and eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia contribute to hair loss because the body is not getting enough protein, vitamins, and minerals to sustain hair growth. Also, some teens who are vegetarians lose their hair because they are not getting enough protein, Chung says.

Some athletes such as runners are at higher risk for hair loss because they may develop iron-deficiency anaemia, Chung says.

Hair loss can be brought on by a major event, like having a baby, having a high fever, undergoing anaesthesia, or after heavy bleeding. This type of hair loss corrects itself.

Hair loss can also be caused by certain illnesses or medical conditions, including endocrine (hormonal) abnormalities such as diabetes or thyroid disease. Also, kidney and liver diseases and lupus can cause hair loss. Teens who have cancer and lose their hair because of chemotherapy treatments go through a difficult time, especially girls.

It's important that teens be given as much control over their appearance as possible when they're losing their hair. There are options such as wearing wigs, hair wraps, hats and baseball caps.

If medication is causing hair loss, ask the doctor if a different drug can be substituted. If your hair loss is due to an endocrine condition, like diabetes or thyroid disease, proper treatment and control of the underlying disorder is important to prevent hair loss.

Hair loss can erode a child's self-esteem. Other children may make fun of them. Adolescents, in particular, can feel stigmatised and may become withdrawn or inhibited.

Parents, too, may be overcome by anxiety, fearing that their child will become permanently bald. They may try a multitude of ointments and creams and become frustrated. These feelings can get in the way of the support parents can offer their child - at a time when the child desperately needs it.

Eating a balanced, healthy diet really benefits your hair. Also, treat your hair well. For example, some doctors recommend shampooing no more than once a day, and lathering gently.

Also, consider putting away the hair dryer and air-drying your hair instead. Don't rub too vigorously with a towel, either. If you can't live without your hair dryer, try using it on a lower setting.

Style your hair when it's dry. Styling your hair while it's wet can cause it to stretch and break. And try to avoid teasing your hair, which can also cause damage. Perm and colour carefully to avoid mistakes that can cause your hair to break or fall out.

Proper brushing can help to condition your hair by distributing its natural oils and protecting the hair follicles. Never brush your hair when it is wet, this can cause it to break or splinter. Remember, because hair is not living tissue, it cannot repair itself.

It is advisable to consult a dermatologist or a trichologist over hair loss.
  • As a reminder, this column is being written to draw attention to the issues concerning parenting, and should not be relied upon as medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your child's physician.
  • The writer can be contacted at features@nstp.com.my.
Tight braids ... They can cause a kind of baldness called traction

(Copyright 2002)
FOCUS@HEALTH: Baldness or hair loss traceable to heredity
Filipino Reporter; 8/3/2000; Chua, Philip S.
Filipino Reporter


FOCUS@HEALTH: Baldness or hair loss traceable to heredity

WE will focus on baldness for this week's column. How common is baldness?

Baldness affects approximately 40 million men and 20 million women in the United States. We could not find statistics for the Philippines. Male-pattern baldness is recession of the hairline from the forehead upwards and back, thinning or fallout from the crown of the head, leaving a horse-shaped hair mass around the sides and back of the head. Female-pattern baldness is a diffuse hair loss throughout the scalp. Even Julius Caesar, according to legend, used the ceremonial wreath of laurel leaves as a crown to hide his baldness. What causes baldness?

About 95 percent of hair loss is caused by a hereditary condition called androgenetic alopecia. DHT is dihydrotestosterone comes from a male hormone called androgen, which circulates in the bloodstream. Androgen is converted to DHT by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. Those with more reductase activity have more DHT binding to the hair follicle receptors, which adversely affects hair follicles, until the follicles wither away. How does one know if he/she will have baldness?

All men have to do is to look at their father's hair, and the women, at their mother's hair, since baldness or thinning hair is strongly hereditary. Of course, there are some other medical conditions that could affect the future of one's hair besides genetics. Does baldness mean premature aging?

No, there are many bald men who could perhaps look younger with a set of hair on them, but physiologically, they are as young or as old as their chronological age. Their life span is normal also. What is the normal rate of hair loss?

Normally, we loss about 100 hairs a day, and they regenerate, unless a person has a tendency to baldness or has an illness that affects hair growth. What is alopecia areata?

This is a condition due to autoimmune disease of unknown cause, where inflammatory cells attack the bulbs of the hair follicles under the scalp, resulting in hairless patches or areas of baldness, hence "areata." While baldness only hurts one's psyche, some of the causes of hair loss may signal a health problem, like alopecia areata. This is why consulting with one's physician is essential. Could hair fall out from the entire head at once?

Yes, in more serious cases, which luckily is not very common, hair may actually fall out of the entire head, eyebrows and beard included, and hair from the rest of the body. In many cases, though, hair spontaneously regrows. What medical conditions can cause hair loss?

Severe malnutrition, child-birth, thyroid problems, a form of lupus and, more popularly see (even on TV shows), following chemotherapy for cancer. Can pigtails or cornrows cause hair loss?

Yes, if worn too long, pigtails or cornrows can lead to hair loss due to the stress to the hair shaft. Can mental stress lead to hair loss?

Psychological stress has been reported to have caused hair loss but only at times of extreme emotional trauma. The medical community doubts the role of emotional stress as a significant factor in the causation of baldness. Does wearing hats cause hair loss?

No, this a myth. Wearing hats does not cause hair loss or baldness. Standing on your head to increase blood flow to the head will not cure hair loss or baldness. Scalp massage or brushing won't save you from hair loss. Rubbing egg yolk or milk, dead flies, or ancient Egyptian fat mixtures from mountain goats, lions, goose, serpents, crocodile or hippopotamus on bald areas of the head will not promote hair growth, in spite of the popular folklore. Toweling off your hair gingerly rather than vigorously will not do the trick either. And the biggest myth is cleaning your scalp of sebum to unclog blocked follicles to prevent hair loss or baldness. This is simply not true. Does using hair dryers-blowers cause hair loss?

No, not if you do it will the normal care. If you use too much heat and for prolonged periods, it could damage the hair and even burn the scalp. Do herbal potions and other creams or lotions help prevent hair loss?

No, there is no known cream or ointment, lotion or potion, mousses, gel, volumizers or shampoo that can prevent hair loss or baldness, much less cure them. The U.S. Food an Drug Administration has banned all these over-the-counter salves in 1989. The only two things that will surely grow when you use these costly preparations are your expenses and the bank accounts of the manufacturers and dealers. Do multivitamins and minerals prevent hair loss?

No, except in very rate instances where multivitamin/mineral deficiencies are severe and aggravating the malnutrition present. In general, we believe that daily multivitamin/mineral supplements are good for health maintenance and general well-being. What can be done then?

The FDA approved medication Rogaine (minoxidil-based) has been claimed to have led to moderate hair regrowth after four months in 26 percent of men between 18 and 49. An additional 39 percent had some regrowth. In women, about 20 percent had moderate regrowth among those 18 and 45 years of age, plus an additional 40 percent with minimal regrowth. Hair (micro or mini-graft) transplantation and the use of hair-pieces (toupees and wigs) are the two other options. State-of-the-art hair transplant centers have had great successes with most natural looking hair growths. Synthetic hair transplant has been legally banned by the FDA because of the attendant complications and dangers. In today's society, baldness is well accepted and so with the use of hair pieces or hair transplants.

Our readers are invited to send in their medical questions for possible inclusion in future issues of this column. Mail your questions to the author at Heart to Heart Talk, c/o Cebu Cardiovascular Center, Cebu Doctor's Hospital, Osmena Boulevard, Cebu City, Philippines, or e-mail them to heart@chua.net.

Article copyright Filipino Reporter.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch; 1/21/1996; Dr. Paul Donohue
St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Dear Dr. Donohue: I am female and have been told I have androgenic alopecia, a hair-loss problem. Rogaine was recommended. A dermatologist says that if I were in Canada, I could get a drug called "cyproterone," which he says has been used successfully for my problem. I cannot find it. Who could I contact? Can I see a Canadian dermatologist?

First off, I called around and learned that cyproterone is sold in Canada under the name Androcur. Rogaine and Androcur are not the same.

Cyproterone is an anti-androgen drug used primarily in treatment of prostate cancer, which is a male-only problem in which male hormones play a role. I found conflicting reports on how cyproterone might work in alleviating androgenic alopecia - male-pattern baldness - which women experience if they produce excess male hormones. Male hormones act negatively on the hair follicles to produce the typical male-pattern baldness. In women, the reaction leans more toward thinning than balding. It's interesting to note that women can experience a relative increase in male hormones as they grow older. My Canadian sources expressed surprise at my query about cyproterone for balding. It is not marketed for that use, so I would check back with the doctor who is advising you. Yes, you could see a Canadian dermatologist. Call a medical society in the area that you wish. Select from the society's list and ask that dermatologist's opinion on use of cyproterone for hair loss.

Dear Dr. Donohue: My doctor recently diagnosed polymyalgia rheumatica. I am 66 and in good health. I exercise. How does one get PMR? Is it common? My joints ache and I am having low-grade fever. I have been given prednisone. Will I get better?

Polymyalgia rheumatica is fairly common. About half of 1 percent of those 50 and older have it. PMR affects muscles and joints, especially of the shoulders and hips. Fatigue, weight loss and low-grade fever are parts of the picture. A high blood sedimentation rate is a hallmark finding. Inflammation is always associated with a high sed rate. For most, PMR responds quickly to the cortisone medicines, such as prednisone. PMR can last a few months to a year or more. A few patients require life treatment. I hope you are not among the few. For more on PMR and on temporal arteritis, an artery problem that can be a companion illness, send for my 45th report. Write to Dr. Donohue - No. 45, Box 5539, Riverton, NJ 08077-5539. Enclose $3 and a self-addre ssed, stamped (55 cents) No. 10 envelope.

Dear Dr. Donohue: My doctor tells me I have something called Gaisbock's syndrome. My ankle swells periodically for about a week. I can't find out about it and its cause. I am a 57-year-old man.

Gaisbock's syndrome appears in overweight men with high blood pressure and especially in smokers. The red cell count rises. Blood gets sludgy and tends toward clotting in vessels. I cannot comment on your ankle symptoms. Patients are advised to quit smoking. The doctor tries to alleviate symptoms, and if necessary removes blood periodically until the red cell count reverts to normal. I cannot say much about cause, except to note that smoking increases the red cell count. Diuretic treatment of high blood pressure also might contribute to the relative increase in red cell population.

Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him at P.O. Box 5539, Riverton, NJ 08077-5539.

Copyright © 1996, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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