Statistics show that 50% of all men and 25% of all women suffer from hair loss by the time they reach 50 years old. This hair loss often results in baldness, referred to as alopecia in medical circles. Another 2% of the population develops spot baldness also known as alopecia areata. These two types of baldness may also occur because of health conditions such as HIV/AIDS, hypothyroidism, and malnutrition. Chemotherapy treatment may also cause alopecia as a side effect. Other known causes include radiation therapy, sarcoidosis, lupus erythematosus, and fungal infections.
People tend to care a lot about how they look. Baldness leads to various psychological effects on the affected person. The American Dermatology Academy conducted a study back in 1992 that revealed 75% of all men with alopecia lost some sense of confidence about the time they started losing hair. Sixty percent of the men also admitted that they have suffered from ridicule at least once in their lives because of their condition. The study also found that women feel less confident about their body after the onset of alopecia.
Other surveys showed that 63% of women encountered problems with their careers after they started losing hair. Alopecia is also a problem because those who have it may fall into depression or become introverted and unsocial.
Over decades, people have been offered various remedies for baldness including coconut oil, honey, curry leaves, aloe vera, garlic, onions, and olive oil among others to no avail. In most cases, the problem persists for those who have tried these methods.
In ancient times, the Egyptians mixed fat from crocodiles, hippopotamuses, snakes, ibexes, and tomcats in an attempt to cure this condition. Hippocrates, a fifth-century physician, proposed such an extreme method as castration as a means of preventing hair loss. In 1995, scientists at Duke University found that his castration idea was a plausible means of preventing hair loss in some cases. Of course, it goes without saying that men would rather go completely bald than try castration as a remedy for alopecia.
A recent study published in the Clinical Investigation Journal found that a new drug named ruxolitinib could finally solve this age-old problem. Scientists who developed the drug have already tested it on 12 patients suffering from alopecia areata. The participants took ruxolitinib for 3 to 6 months. Hair regrowth of 50% and more occurred in 9 of the 12 patients as the study progressed. At the end of it, those 9 participants experienced a hair regrowth rate of 95%.
It is important to note, though, that 6 of the patients went back to losing hair sometime after they ceased taking ruxolitinib. However, their rate of hair loss did not deteriorate compared to the pre-study levels. Many people now hope scientists have found the cure for baldness after searching for it for centuries.