Friday, 26 April 2013

Treatments and Healthy Maintenance of Hair Loss (Part 2)

Hi friends, hope you are well and healthy. Here is the second and the last part of the topic in which as I told you in my last post, I add some tests, treatments and some questions which you all ask yourselves at least more than once a time in your life. So I am giving the answer of that type of questions and if you have more of this kind, then ask me without any hesitation.

Tests to identify hair loss

·         The pull test: This test helps to evaluate diffuse scalp hair loss. Gentle traction is exerted on a group of hair (about 40–60) on three different areas of the scalp. The number of extracted hairs is counted and examined under a microscope. Normally, <3 hairs per area should come out with each pull. If >10 hairs are obtained, the pull test is considered positive.
·         The pluck test: In this test, the individual pulls hair out “by the roots.” The root of the plucked hair is examined under a microscope to determine the phase of growth and used to diagnose a defect of telogen, anagen, or systemic disease. Telogen hairs are hairs that have tiny bulbs without sheaths at their roots. Telogen effluvium shows an increased percentage of hairs upon examination. Anagen hairs are hairs that have sheaths attached to their roots. Anagen effluvium shows a decrease in telogen-phase hairs and an increased number of broken hairs.
·         Scalp biopsy: This test is done when alopecia is present, but the diagnosis is unsure. The biopsy allows for differing between scarring and nonscarring forms. Hair samples are taken from areas of inflammation, usually around the border of the bald patch.
·         Daily Hair Counts: This is normally done when the pull test is negative. It is done by counting the number of hairs lost. The hair that should be counted is the hairs from the first morning combing or during washing. The hair is collected in a clear plastic bag for 14 days. The strands are recorded. If the hair count is >100/day is considered abnormal except after shampooing, where hair counts will be up 250 and be normal.
·         Trichoscopy: Trichoscopy is a non-invasive method of hair and scalp. The test may be performed with the use of a hadheld dermoscope or a videodermoscope. It allows differential diagnosis of hair loss in most cases.

Some Treatments for Hair Loss

·         Minoxidil (Rogaine): This is a non-prescription medication approved for androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata. Minoxidil comes in a liquid or foam that is rubbed into your scalp twice a day. This is the most effective method to treat male-pattern and female-pattern hair loss. However, only 30–40% of patients experience hair growth. Minoxidil is not effective for other causes of hair loss except alopecia areata. Hair regrowth can take 8 to 12 months. Treatment is continued indefinitely because if the treatment is stopped, hair loss resumes again. Most frequent side effects are mild scalp irritation, allergic contact dermatitis, and increased facial hair.
·         Finasteride (Propecia): Is used in male-pattern hair loss in a pill form taken on a daily basis. Finasteride is not indicated for women and is not recommended in pregnant women. Treatment is effective within 6 to 8 months of treatment. Side effects include decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory dysfunction, gynecomastia, and myopathy. Therefore this treatment is to avoid. Treatment should be continued as long as positive results occur. Once treatment is stopped, hair loss resumes again.
·         Corticosteroids: Injections of cortisone into the scalp can be used to treat alopecia areata. This type of treatment is repeated on a monthly basis. Physician may prescribe oral pills for extensive hair loss due to alopecia areata. Results may take up to a month to be seen.
·         Anthralin (Dritho-Scalp): Available as a cream or ointment that is applied to the scalp and washed off daily. More commonly is used to treat psoriasis. Results may take up to 12 weeks to be seen.
·         Hormonal Modulators: Oral contraceptives or spironolactone can be used for female-pattern hair loss associated with hyperandrogenemia.
·         Surgical Options: Treatment options such as follicle transplant, scalp flaps, and alopecia reduction are available. These procedures are generally chosen by those who are self-conscious about their hair loss. These options are expensive and painful. There is a risk of infection and scarring. Once surgery has occurred, it takes 6 to 8 months before the quality of new hair can be assessed.
·          Hair transplant: A dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon takes tiny plugs of skin, each which contains a few hairs, and implants the plugs into bald sections. The plugs are generally taken from the back or sides of your scalp. Several transplant sessions may be necessary.
·         Scalp Reduction: This process is the decreasing of the area of bald skin on your head. As time goes, the skin on our head becomes flexible and stretched enough that some of it can be surgically removed. After the hairless scalp is removed, the space is closed with hair-covered scalp. Scalp reduction is generally done in combination with hair transplantation to provide a natural-looking hairline, especially those with extensive hair loss. You may have the perfect hairstyle, but that coif won’t go very far if you don’t take care of your hair. Proper hair maintenance for men goes beyond slapping on some shampoo and running a comb through your tresses. It involves using the right products, getting regular haircuts, and taking care of your scalp.


Now some questions which you always ask yourselves or to your friends almost now and then but you don’t get the exact answer from anywhere and there is I am for you with your answers. Here the answers most of yours questions and let me know if you have any other questions.

Is it OK to shampoo every day?
As long as you’re using the proper product in your hair, you can shampoo and condition every day, 1,000 times a day, without any side effects – but, again, only if you’re using the right product. Just use common sense. If your hair is dry, don’t use a shampoo that removes oil — you’re just drying out your scalp. Use normal shampoo and conditioner, and it’s fine to wash frequently. There’s that myth that your hair will fall out, but it’s not true. If it’s going to fall out, it’s in your blood.

     What’s the one hair product men should own?
Many men are starting to get more conscious of hair conditioners. Conditioners are necessities because a healthy scalp means healthy hair – and not enough men know that.

      Are gels and oils bad for the scalp?
Gels get hard, congest the scalp and the scalp doesn’t breathe. You can point out the guys on the street who look like they’ve got a crusty head. Joe actually has a gel that doesn’t get hard and looks natural, so we recommend that type of gel.

      How often should a men get their hair cut?
 Haircuts should generally occur every 4 to 6 weeks if you want to look your best. After this period, hair generally starts to lose its support and maintain its shape. But 4 to 6 weeks is the peak, and after that your hair is just not cooperating with you anymore.

So dear friends, hope you enjoyed the above information. If you have any other questions about above topic or any kind of topic you can ask me like the friend who have asked me as I told you before. Till then stay healthy, be passionate, share your thoughts with me and of course do not forget to visit our blog.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Treatments and Healthy Maintenance of Hair Loss (Part 1)

Hi friends, thanks for your support and sharing your thoughts. Few days ago, one of my blog friends send me her thoughts and doubts about her hair loss. She also shared a lots of problems what she is facing because of this problem. So today I am writing about it part by part because you should know about this in detail. This topic is very common. As this topic is so common same as we all are sufferers less or more. From the title you already knew the topic of today. So friends, no more extra talking, here comes the information about the topic what we all should be known.

The Basic of Understanding Hair Loss

What Is Hair Loss?
 Hair grows everywhere on the human skin except on the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet, but many hairs are so fine they're virtually invisible. Hair is made up of a protein called keratin that is produced in hair follicles in the outer layer of skin. As follicles produce new hair cells, old cells are being pushed out through the surface of the skin at the rate of about six inches a year. The hair you can see is actually a string of dead keratin cells. The average adult head has about 100,000 to 150,000 hairs and loses up to 100 of them a day; so finding a few stray hairs on your hairbrush is not necessarily cause for alarm.

At any one time, about 90% of the hair on a person's scalp is growing. Each follicle has its own life cycle that can be influenced by age, disease, and a wide variety of other factors. This life cycle is divided into three phases:
  • Anagen or growth phase -- active hair growth that lasts between two to six years. About 90% of the hair on the head is in the anagen or growth phase.
  • Catagen or transitional phase -- transitional hair growth that lasts two to three weeks.
  • Telogen -- resting phase that lasts about two to three months. At the end of the resting phase the hair is shed and a new hair replaces it and the growing cycle starts again.
As people age, their rate of hair growth slows.

Alopecia means loss of hair from the head or body, sometimes to the extent of baldness. Alopecia can also be caused by compulsive pulling of hair (trichotillomania). It can also be the consequence of hairstyling routines such as ponytails or braids, or due to hair relaxer solutions, and hot hair irons. In some cases, alopecia is due to underlying medical conditions, such as iron deficiency.

There are many types of alopecia:
  • Involutional alopecia is a natural condition in which the hair gradually thins with age. More hair follicles go into the resting phase, and the remaining hairs become shorter and fewer in number.
  • Androgenic alopecia is a genetic condition that can affect both men and women. Men with this condition, called male pattern baldness, can begin suffering hair loss as early as their teens or early 20s. It's characterized by a receding hairline and gradual disappearance of hair from the crown and frontal scalp. Women with this condition, called female pattern baldness, don't experience noticeable thinning until their 40s or later. Women experience a general thinning over the entire scalp, with the most extensive hair loss at the crown.
  • Alopecia areata often starts suddenly and causes patchy hair loss in children and young adults. This condition may result in complete baldness (alopecia totalis). But in about 90% of people with the condition, the hair returns within a few years.
  • Alopecia universalis causes all body hair to fall out, including the eyebrows, eyelashes, and pubic hair.
  • Trichotillomania seen most frequently in children, is a psychological disorder in which a person pulls out one's own hair.
  • Telogen effluvium is temporary hair thinning over the scalp that occurs because of changes in the growth cycle of hair. A large number of hairs enter the resting phase at the same time, causing hair shedding and subsequent thinning.

What Causes Hair Loss?

Doctors don't know why certain hair follicles are programmed to have a shorter growth period than others. However, several factors may influence hair loss:
  • Hormones, such as abnormal levels of androgens (male hormones normally produced by both men and women).
  • Genes, from both male and female parents, influence a person's predisposition to male or female pattern baldness.
  • Stress, illness, and childbirth can cause temporary hair loss. Ringworm caused by a fungal infection can also cause hair loss.
  • Drugs, including chemotherapy drugs used in cancer treatment, blood thinners, beta-adrenergic blockers used to control blood pressure, and birth control pills, can cause temporary hair loss.
  • Burns, injuries, and X-rays can cause temporary hair loss. In such cases, normal hair growth usually returns once the injury heals.
  • Autoimmune disease may cause alopecia areata. In alopecia areata, the immune system revs up for unknown reasons and affects the hair follicles. In most people with alopecia areata, the hair grows back, although it may temporarily be very fine and possibly a lighter color before normal coloration and thickness return.
  • Cosmetic procedures, such as shampooing too often, perms, bleaching, and dyeing hair can contribute to overall hair thinning by making hair weak and brittle. Tight braiding, using rollers or hot curlers, and running hair picks through tight curls can also damage and break hair. However, these procedures don't cause baldness. In most instances hair grows back normally if the source of the problem is removed. Still, severe damage to the hair or scalp sometimes causes permanent bald patches.  
So dear friends hope you are enjoying my posts. The next part of the post will be published very soon with new tests, treatment and with some new things. Till then stay healthy, be passionate, share your thoughts with me and of course do not forget to visit our blog.


Sunday, 14 April 2013

The Smallest – The Largest

Hi friends. I am here again. Let me share something exciting with you. Yesterday morning I got my dream microscope in my hands. Wow! The feeling was just wow I mean. After getting into the university, from the first year onward, I was dreaming of having this microscope on my own and making a little, a very little  laboratory inside my room. So, friends I think the first step towards creating  this little laboratory is fulfilled. Ahh, thanks to Almighty Allah. Though the microscope is a compound microscope. I have a great urge to look how the different cells look in the magnified form even under the compound one. And the feeling of being at the start of this journey is very much exciting.

Now lets return to the post friends. So, what do you think guys, what is this smallest and what is this largest? What can you recognize from the post tile today? These are none other than the bacteria. The smallest bacteria and the largest bacteria on earth. Does not it feel interesting to get to know about them. I was much anxious to know about them so got to do a search on them. And I got to know, the smallest bacteria is “ Mycoplasma” and the largest bacteria is “ Thiomargarita namibiensis “. Let us begin with the Mycoplasma first.


Mycoplasma is the smallest cell and the smallest bacteria living on earth having a size of about 0.2 micro meter which is about the same size as the largest virus ( poxvirus ) on the other hand. The cells varry from spherical to pea – shaped to a slender branched filament. They are mostly fluctuative anaerobes.

Mycoplasma is the name given to a group of bacteria or a genus of bacteria that unlike the other most aggressive infectious bacteria lack a cell wall. And is the kind between bacteria and viruses. They possess a flexible cell membrane containing sterols in them which allows them to take many different shapes and making them difficult to identify even under a high – powered electron microscope. It is still a question that whether the largest bacteria have evolved from the Mycoplasma or they themselves have evolved from viruses.

A large group of common  antibiotics, the beta – lactam antibiotics including the penicillins are used to kill a wide variety of bacteria that contain a peptideglycan cell wall. These antibiotics target to inhibit the synthesis of the cell wall and eventually killing the bacteria. The Mycoplasma on the other hand, not having a cell wall are not killed by these antibiotics.

 They were named Mycoplasma as some of their strains were found to have a mycelated – fungi like structure ( Mycology – the study of fungi ) with a flowering plasma like structure, hence the name Mycoplasma.

Mycoplasma species are parasites of joints and the mucous membranes lining the respiratory, genital or digestive tracts of ruminants, carnivores, rodents and humans. Mycoplasma infections in humans triggers a serious immune  reaction in the host.

Mycoplasma are often associated with chronic illness. The pathogenic species of the Mycoplasma are M..pneumoniae which causes atypical pneumonia and other respiratory disorders, M.genitalium, which causes pelvic inflammatory diseases. Some pathogenic Mycoplasma are found to involve in different cancers namely M.fermentans, M.genitalium, M.hyorhinis thought to cause colon cancer, prostate cancer and gastric cancer, and M.penetrans.Mycoplasmas also are found to cause lung cancer and renal cancer.

Mycoplasmas, unlike viruses, can grow in tissue fluids (  blood, heart, joint, chest, and spinal fluids ) and can also grow in living tissue cells without killing the cells. Mycoplasmas are also thought to involve in rheumatic diseases. Mycoplasmas are found to infect females four times more than the males.
Some other species of Mycoplasma are M.gallisepticum, M.haemofelis, M.hominis, M.hyopneumoniae, M.ovipneumoniae, etc.

If the recent studies get proved to be the case that the mechanism of Mycoplasma is both immune complex and as an autoantigen, then  soon Mycoplasma will be found to be involved in many immunological disorders such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, etc.

Mycoplasmas appear to be unusual among other bacteria and Mycoplasma testing is very specialized and not every lab does this testing or if does, does not do it well.

Thiomargarita namibiensis

It is one of the biggest bacteria ever discovered ranging in size from 0.1 – 0.3 mm ( 100 – 300 micro meter ), but sometimes also has size of 0.75 mm or 750 micrometer. It is a gram – negative coccoid Proteobacterium found in the ocean sediments of the continental shelf of  Namibia. It is also one of the most massive bacteria.

Elaborating its name Thiomargarita namibiensis, the genus name Thiomargarita means “sulfur pearl “ which is the cell’s appearance. These bacterial cells contain microscopic sulfur granules that scatter incident light, giving the cell a pearly luster. The species name, namibiensis means “ of Namibia “. This bacterium is large enough to be visible to the naked eye.

The interesting part is that, this bigness of the bacteria creates problems for its survival. As we all know that bacteria feed themselves by simple diffusion which occurs in a rapid rate if the bacterial cell is having a large cell membrane surface area to cell volume ratio. In a big cell, like this bacterium, this ratio is lower so rate of uptake of nutrients in them by simple diffusion gets low too, allowing the bacteria to starve easily. So, is not it a problem for this bacteria? I don’t think so as they have different back up mechanism for this, which is they create large vacuoles which they then fill with the life supporting nitrates and oxygen from water. For this storage vacuoles these bacteria do not need to be in constant contact with nutrients and can also survive for a long period.

The bacterial cells are enveloped by a sheath layer which protects it from damage as a result of contact with the sediments.

The inclusion like spheres seen inside the bacterial cells are the large liquid filled vacuoles for nutrient storage already discussed above.

Thiomargarita namibiensis have adapted to its environment so well that these cells do not die due to any environmental conditions rather they may die from mutations and cell suicide, as mutations would lead to changes in their most suitable adaptations, and as a result the resulting inability to adapt to their environment after a mutation leads them to death.

About any diseases caused by these bacteria. They are actually too large to cause any diseases in humans and till now they are not known to cause any diseases in humans. They find it really troublesome to cause diseases. Most disease causing bacteria are approximately 1 micro meter across, and the Thiomargarita namibiensis are quite large to do this job.

So my dear friends, how was the journey to the world of the smallest and the largest bacteria?. I think it was quiet enjoyable, right friends. I am looking forward to share with you even more interesting news about the medical world, any new breakthroughs, innovations and some more useful information. Till than, stay healthy, be passionate and of course do not forget to visit our blog.