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A New Genetic Test for Male Pattern Baldness

written by: •edited by: Paul Arnold•updated: 11/18/2011

By the time you spot the early signs of baldness, your hair is already on its way out. But genetic testing may be able to predict your risk of thinning hair much sooner, allowing you to find the most appropriate treatments to keep your hair for longer.

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    Baldness

    Quiz any man about one of his biggest fears, and the answer you will get from most is the prospect of going bald. The loss of hair being seen as a sign of vanishing youth. Of the men who are bald, many start showing signs in their early twenties. The trouble here is that by the time a man is aware that his hair is doing a vanishing trick, baldness is already at an advanced stage. To some this is not a problem, they take it in their stride (and many women believe a bald head is sexy) but to many more it's devastating.

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    Genetic Test for Baldness

    A genetic test for baldness has been developed by PharmaGenoma, Inc. and its subsidiary HairDX, LLC. The test goes by the name of HairDX and it's available through a qualified physician. It claims to be able to predict signs of baldness in approximately 70% of men.

    If a test shows up positive, a physician is able to tell a man that he has up to an 80% chance of going bald. If the test turns out to be negative the physician will be able to tell the individual that he has up to a 90% chance of not developing hair loss.

    This genetic test looks for several gene variants associated with male pattern baldness, including markers on the Androgen Receptor (AR) gene as well as on Chromosome 20.The test is also available for women and can reveal androgen sensitivity.

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    Baldness cure

    Back of man's head Whilst there is currently no cure for baldness, early signs that have been picked up by a genetic test can be treated. Knowing the exact cause of baldness means that the most appropriate treatments can be selected such as finasteride and spironalactone, although finasteride is not currently approved by the FDA for use in women.

    Not all treatments are effective for everyone of course, but there are treatments such as Propecia that can stabilize the condition and even promote new hair growth.

    Whilst hair transplantation may appear a drastic step for some, there are several companies that offer surgery with natural looking and permanent results. One of those leading the way is the Farjo Medical Centre in Manchester in the UK.

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    Baldness and genes

    Several genes for baldness have already been identified, and there may be more lurking inside our cells. But until this knowledge has been turned into some form of gene therapy or cure for baldness the best a person with a thinning pate can hope for is continual improvements in genetic tests (to spot it early), medicines that work or transplantation technology.

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    Further information

    You can read more about the discovery of a gene linked with baldness by clicking here

    http://www.brighthub.com/science/genetics/articles/8980.aspx

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    Photo Credit

    By Ed Fitzgerald - released under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0