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Last modified on Thursday, 24 September 2020 18:09

What's the number one reason for baldness? Your genes! HairDX is probably the first direct to consumer genetic test available. This new screening test is designed specifically for men and claims to help predict men's future follicle count. To quote the site, "What HairDX does it helps men in their earliest phases of hair loss recognize their risk for experiencing androgenetic alopecia". Specifically, it measures two genetic variants connected to hair loss. Obviously, HairDX is ideal for both younger men and those who notice some thinning and are concerned about its progression and severity.

“There is a new genetic test to determine your risk for male pattern baldness,” Dr. Cole explains. “The test looks for a genetic marker on the X chromosome. Men who carry a specific androgen receptor gene variant are at a 60% risk of going bald by the age of 40 according to several studies. Men who carry the less common genetic variant of the same androgen receptor gene have a greater than 85% chance of not going bald before the age of 40. It has been determined that 95% of bald men carry the high-risk variant in studies to date.” The logic goes that the test’s evaluation helps trichologists and hair restoration surgeons predict hair loss and take proper action, be it prescribing hair retention treatments or planning for hair restoration surgeries.

How Do I Know If I Have Genetic Hair Loss?

Not all hair loss is generic, even if genetically related, or easily curable. Such disorders are sometimes temporary but not always. Such disorders include:  

  • Telogen Effluvium: Shock related hair loss that happens several months after a medical event or condition that is considered chronic if hair does not grow back after half a year  
  • Anagen Effluvium: Rapid hair loss following medical treatment 
  • Alopecia Areata: A condition when the immune system attacks hair follicles, causing it to fall out in small patches and often prevents new hair from growing
  • Cicatricial Alopecia: A type of inflammation that causes hair loss and scarring where the hair does not grow back
  • Loose Anagen Syndrome: Hair is not firmly set within the root and easily falls out 

These types of hair loss, most genetic, largely have treatments. However, the purpose of HairDX is to detect the chances of androgenetic alopecia, far and away from the most common type of hair loss and typically referred to simply as “male pattern hair loss.” Numerous signs are indicative of such hair loss and include:

  • Noticing a greater amount of hair in the shower or on their brush/comb. 
  • Receding hairline
  • Miniaturization of follicles, or when they become smaller, thinner, and more brittle

Along with these easy to tell signs, there are also tests that can measure hair density.  Forhair uses a measurement tool called Hairmes to gauge hair loss and calculate the appropriate amount of replacement follicles.  

What Gene Causes Hair Loss? 

Research indicates the AR gene is a major component of male pattern hair loss. Found in the X chromosome, this means that it is primarily inherited from the mother. While the AR gene is a major contributor, studies show that that male pattern baldness is polygenetic. In other words, each gene may increase the odds of pattern baldness and its surfacing is a cumulative effect.  

Are There Genetic Hair Loss Treatments? 

Research is getting there! Of major note are stem cell treatments. This involves the extraction of the patient’s follicular stem cell tissue and, after processing, injection of such in balding areas. Most treatments, though, affect the recipient’s genes. Finasteride blocks hair loss causing androgens, for instance, while methyl vanillate encourages hair growth by increasing WNT signaling. 

What Does All This Mean?

Androgenic alopecia is a multifactorial or polygenic condition. To date there appear to be four major genes that determine the age of onset, rate of progression, and eventual pattern of hair loss. As mentioned, hair loss is not due to a single gene. HairDX does not rule out or rule in the risk that you will eventually suffer from androgenic alopecia.

This test is a predictor, however of the possibility of future hair loss due to androgenic alopecia. One may couple the test with other subtle signs of androgenic alopecia such as miniaturization of the hair shaft diameter, loss of hair shaft color, and eventually overt signs of thinning. This is particularly useful for the early prevention of hair loss. Many patients ignore the problem before hair transplantation becomes their only option even though the use of prescriptions and treatments oftentimes prevents recession and bald spots before they become pronounced. 

HairDX test may help individuals and physicians institute medical therapy for patients with hair loss. Certainly, it helps to identify those at an increased risk of male pattern baldness and potentially begin medical treatment at an earlier stage. Medical therapy is more effective in maintaining one’s hair when instituted earlier for those who suffer from androgenic alopecia. Further, new variants of treatments such as topical finasteride are showing vastly greater effectiveness while also mitigating side effects such as depression.  

This diagnostic test is available for 225.00, plus shipping. We send it to you and subsequently inform you of the test results. Please notify us if you would like us to send you this genetic test to find out your likelihood of hair recession in the future.

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