A US research centre which specialises in finding prevention therapies and treatments for illnesses is trying to recruit adults with Fabry Disease for a study into whether or not the hereditary disorder decreases the incidence of genetic hair loss.
Since 2011, the Dallas-based Baylor Research Institute has been attempting to gather 120 patients with the rare, inherited Fabry disease and 120 healthy volunteers to act as the control group for their research. The aim is to test their hypothesis that adult males, aged 20-64, with the classic form of the disease have a significantly lower incidence of Male Pattern Hair Loss than the norm, by carrying out a cross-sectional study.
What is Fabry Disease?
Like androgenic alopecia, Fabry disease – also known as Fabry’s disease and Anderson-Fabry disease – is a genetic condition which runs in families. Its main symptoms include fatigue, pain and burning sensations in the hands and feet, and a rash.
It mainly affects males and is caused by the deficiency or malfunctioning of an enzyme called alpha galactosidase A. This results in a poor breakdown of lipids (molecules that make up the building blocks of living cells) and leads to problems in the cardiovascular system, nervous system, eyes and kidneys.
People with Fabry disease are more likely to develop a range of other medical conditions and health issues, including kidney problems, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and have a higher chance of having a heart attack or stroke.
Fabry’s is rare and hard to diagnose, given its symptoms are common to many other conditions, and is thought to affect just one in every 117,000 people.
Reason for study unknown
No clue as to why the theory linking Fabry disease to a lack of propensity towards androgenic alopecia exists has been provided in the clinical trial’s registration information.
Given the disorder has previously been associated with a lack of or sparse hair growth, it would be particularly interesting to find out what sparked this investigation. Researchers are keeping their cards close to their chest, but have most likely been inspired by chance findings of the type that often lead medical teams into uncharted waters.
If they do ascertain that Fabry disease patients are less inclined to genetic hair loss, it could lead them in multiple directions.
One could be that the genetic mutation caused by Fabry disease somehow cancels or delays the onset of male hair loss. This, of course, could lead to discoveries and future treatments for Male Pattern Baldness, which is the most common form of hair loss in the world.
Accidental hair loss treatment discoveries
While it is impossible to know the team’s precise motivations, there are multiple precedents for scientists making remarkable discoveries pertaining to hair loss treatments whist working on other medications.
Finasteride‘s effect on hair growth was investigated following its influence on androgenetic alopecia when used in higher doses for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Minoxidil, meanwhile, was developed by dermatologist Guinter Kahn after he noticed the hypertension drug’s potential application for hair loss.
Findings from the Fabry observational study are due to be collated for analysis in December so we shall keep you updated on the team’s discoveries.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from 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 success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.