Remarkable test results are suggesting that the most unusual treatment we have ever heard of might work on hair loss. And much more...
We are spoiled for choice these days when it comes to smart research teasing us with ever more in depth understandings of the processes around hair growth and loss. New gene therapies create exciting storylines on an almost weekly basis. But news of an original, to put it mildly, method of recalibrating our body's systems reaches us that makes for exciting reading. One which has been shown to improve the condition of people suffering from anything from obesity to autism... and, of course, our pet favourite, hair loss.
Since records began we can see men worrying about their hair loss and taking extreme measures to attempt a save. Ancient scrolls and papyruses have contained unusual suggestions from pigeon poop to cow saliva as possible cures. To date though, nothing really works - with all the benefits of modern science we still only have two FDA approved medications, one topical and one systemic (which is not available to women who represent approximately half of all hair loss sufferers).
Snake oil salesman reached their peak in the 19th and early 20th centuries. When people's faith in science to change their world was understandably high, at the same time as their grasp of science was still rooted in centuries old misunderstandings. It was a relatively easy task for a salesman to pass through a town and spin a convincing enough yarn to peddle their wares.
Modern Snake Oil?
It is difficult to describe this new treatment for long to someone before their eyebrows begin to knit together, puzzlement quickly gives way to incredulity and you will find yourself having to reassure them that what you are saying is not only based in fact but appears to be a genuinely original area of medicine. One that is not based on the medicines we have developed over the last century and a bit, and not one that is based on any of the new gene science. This is something altogether different.
Faecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT)
You may want to let your lunch go down before reading on... but make sure you do read on - this is amazing stuff.
Back in 2013 the vaunted New England Journal of Medicine published a study of FMT. The study centred around a type of gut inflammation triggered by the notorious bug C. difficile... this is a disease that kills one in ten of it's victims. FMT is a process where donated stools, taken from carefully screened donors, are processed to remove the healthy gut bacteria, which was then, back in 2013, placed inside the gut of the patient (the treatment is now available in capsule form).
It is possible the reason for the study being stopped has happened before, but we have not heard of it. They stopped this one because it was ruled unethical to withhold the treatment from the study participants who were not receiving the full treatment because it had cured everyone who did. Phenomenal.
For Hair Loss
A couple of unexpected outcomes from FMT treatments have indicated that our gut bacteria may play an important and influential role when it comes to our autoimmune system. One of these saw US-based gastroenterologist, Colleen Kelly, publish details of two cases where patients suffering from an extreme form of alopecia that saw them lose all body hair made a full recovery.. both from their case of C. difficile and from their hair loss.
HIS Hair Clinic
This is a fascinating area of research and one we will return to very soon... if only to complete the picture on the scope of this exciting work and in case you need further convincing that this is bona fide research that hols the promise of leading us to new and exciting therapies for a range of ailments. It may be a while yet before we see an FMT capsule for hair loss come to market, but we are sure many will overcome their squeamishness to give it a go.
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