Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have discovered a link between early balding and the rare condition Lou Gehrig’s disease. Also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Lou Gehrig’s disease is characterised by muscle wastage, weakness, and eventually a complete loss of movement.
Comprehensive baldness study
The researchers interviewed 50,000 American men aged between 46 and 81, asking them about the shape of their hairline when they were 45. The interviewees were presented with photos depicting no balding, moderate and extensive hair loss and asked to choose which most closely represented their hairlines.
16 years later researchers again interviewed 5,500 men who had reported extensive hair loss in the initial survey. 11 of the men had since been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. The researchers also found that 13 of the 17,500 men who reported no balding aged 45 had also been diagnosed with ALS.
Early balding an early ALS indicator?
Based on these findings, the Harvard researchers believe that men with extensive balding at an early age are three times more likely to develop Lou Gehrig’s disease than those who do not. The team did however urge medical professionals and concerned men to treat the findings with caution as some of the participants in the study still developed ALS despite avoiding early hair loss.
It also has to be remembered that Lou Gehrig’s disease is an extremely rare condition. In the US there are just 5600 diagnoses made each year from a population of nearly 317 million people. As such, men experiencing early balding are more likely to be losing their hair as a result of another condition.
The most common cause of hair loss across the world remains Male Pattern Balding, also known as Androgenic Alopecia. A genetic condition, Androgenic Alopecia is caused by hormones known as androgens that interact with hair follicles in the scalp to inhibit hair growth. Over time hair follicles affected by the androgens produce weaker and thinner hair, before all growth stops completely. As more and more hair follicles are affected in this way, the development of bald patches becomes more obvious.
Treating hair loss
Balding can be treated extremely successfully through a complete hair loss treatment program that couples proven medications with complementary therapies and dietary advice. For men experiencing early onset balding, a good quality treatment plan can halt or reverse hair loss.
The link between Lou Gehrig’s disease and baldness seems fairly well established, further underlining the importance of seeking professional advice early when experiencing hair loss. Although the chances of developing ALS are mercifully slim, by getting an early diagnosis of hair loss, men and women can begin a treatment plan to encourage natural hair regrowth tailored to their specific condition and needs. The earlier a treatment plan is started, the more likely it is to be successful in growing new hair.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. We offer clinically proven treatments for hair loss, as part of comprehensive treatment programmes offered by our hair loss specialists. Our in-house pharmacies produce high-strength medications for hair loss that contain medically proven ingredients and are available at no other clinic worldwide. Treatment programmes are available by visiting the centres or for home-use, anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our hair loss success stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of hair regrowth that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 0800 077 6666 for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.