"Vampire Treatment" Stimulates Hair Growth Using The Patient's Blood

Hair loss
Researchers say the cure to hair loss is in the patient's blood. . Creative Commons

Hair loss rests heavily on the mind of every man facing the effects of age. Aside from surgery, there exist few effective and especially permanent solutions for baldness. Until now.

Israeli and Italian researchers claim they have developed a stimulation therapy that can successfully regrow hair on patients suffering from alopecia areata or other forms of hair loss, The Telegraph reported.

Alopecia areata is the most common form of hair loss and occurs when the body's immune system attacks the area of the scalp, called hair follicles, where hair growth begins. Some cases can lead to permanent hair loss although growth often restarts in a few months' time.

"Alopecia is known to lead to overwhelming effects on the patient's quality of life and self-esteem," Nina Goad from the British Association of Dermatologists told The Telegraph. "This could offer hope to thousands."

The aptly named "vampire treatment" involves taking a sample of blood from the balding patient and using a machine to extract the platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Once the PRP is synthesized into a solution, it is injected back into the patient's scalp.

PRP is used in orthopedic and cosmetic operations where injections are believed to aid in the repair of tissue damage. Researchers working on this new study are confident the blood plasmas can stimulate new stem cell growth in the area of hair loss.

"We think it can help to regrow hair on people with androgenic alopecia (male-pattern baldness)," lead researcher Dr. Fabio Rinaldi told The Telegraph.

"We believe it is the best treatment available, apart from surgery."

Dr. Rinaldi and his colleagues conducted a qualitative analysis to test the effectiveness of PRP injections on 45 men with alopecia areata. Once a month for three months participants were given an injection of PRP, a traditional steroid remedy, or a placebo on one side of their head.

Throughout the following year, researchers monitored participant's hair growth in areas where the injections were administered. Out of the three possible treatments, PRP showed the most dramatic proliferation of hair growth.

This study was published in the May 2013 edition of the British Journal of Dermatology.

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