Gut microbiome genetics

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by easymon1, Apr 20, 2023.

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    Last edited: Apr 20, 2023
  2. easymon1


    This field is still in its "quick and dirty fix" stages, lol.
    There’s a new treatment for hair loss in men and women – but you’ll need a strong stomach for it
    Vanessa Chalmers, Digital Health Reporter Published: 12:33 ET, Jan 26 2021

    A NEW treatment for hair loss is on the horizon - but you'll need a strong stomach to take it.
    Scientists are looking at treating baldness by transplanting samples of poo from a person's healthy bowel to the patient.

    A man, 20, saw his hair regrow after a faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT). Left: A few months after and right: 1.5 years laterCredit: American College of Gastroenterology Case Reports Journal
    The sample is inserted through tubes either down the nose and into the stomach or directly into the colon.

    But it's hoped one day the sample can be taken as a pill as a less invasive and smelly procedure.
    The treatment would benefit people who suffer from alopecia areata - an autoimmune condition whereby the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy hair follicles, causing hair loss.

    The idea is that the gut bacteria from the healthy donor, present in their poo, boosts the immune system of the hair loss patient.

    A faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), as it is officially known, is typically used to treat stomach conditions.
    But it has already shown promise to cure hair loss in various case studies, to doctors' surprise.

    It prompted a clinical trial currently underway at Columbia University in America, involving 40 alopecia patients, MailOnline reported.
    The study, which started in 2020, will measure if FMT causes their hair the flourish.

    Patients will be followed until December 2023, so it is unlikely the grim procedure will be widely available for another few years.
    Leading charity Alopecia UK describes FMT as a "complementary and alternative medicine" for which there is "very limited evidence".

    Link between gut health and hair loss
    But the trial holds promise for the one in every 1,000 people who live with alopecia areata, which usually starts with small coin-sized patches of hair loss on the head or body.
    It is not clear what causes the immune system to attack the hair follicles.

    But research shows a "close link" between the condition and the makeup of the gut, which comprises trillions of bacteria.
    This ecosystem of bacteria helps keep the body healthy but can be destroyed by an unhealthy diet or antibiotics, for example.

    When the bacteria in the gut is off-balance, it can lead to all sorts of health problems, scientists say.

    An 86-year-old's hair one month (A), four months (B), and 18 months (C) after an FMT. Some of his white hair even returned to blackCredit: World Journal of Clinical Cases

    What is alopecia?
    Hair loss is normal and each person loses hundreds of hairs a day.
    But some types of hair loss cause patches of, or complete, baldness.

    Hair loss is generally called "alopecia" - of which there are several types.
    Sometimes it can be permanent, like male and female pattern baldness which runs in the family.

    This is called androgenetic alopecia, and is the most common type of hair loss affecting around 50 per cent of men over the age of 50 and around 50 per cent of women over the age of 65.
    It typically causes a receding hairline in men, and hair thinning at the crown of the head in women.

    Other times hair loss can be temporary and as a result of stress or an illness.
    Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition, whereby the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells.

    In this case, immune cells gather around hair follicles and attack them, stopping them from producing healthy hair.
    The hair follicles are not destroyed, and hair does have the possibility to re-grow.

    The hair might grow back with treatment, but there is no cure for the condition.

    The condition often starts with isolated patches of hair loss around the size of a coin, on the scalp or other parts of the body.
    But it can lead to total hair loss; alopecia totalis is the total loss of scalp hair.

    Alopecia areata can affect both men and women of any age. In half of cases it starts in childhood.
    About 1 in 1,000 people have a form of alopecia areata.

    Source: Alopecia UK

    "There is an intriguing link between alopecia areata and gut dysbiosis," researchers wrote in a scientific paper in October 2019.

    Wen-Rui Xie and colleagues at Guangdong Pharmaceutical University, China, said: "Widespread efficacy of FMT provides a clue that FMT might also serve as a potential therapy for alopecia areata via the restoration of gut microbiota balance."

    "Significant" hair regrowth
    FMTs have been proven to help treat a range of stomach conditions linked with gut issues, including IBS.

    With a faecal transplant, “good” bugs from the donor's stool are infused into the patient, where they populate.
    It was through treating patients with stomach complaints that scientists first discovered FMTs could lead the way as a revolutionary new hair loss treatment.

    Wen-Rui Xie wrote about an 86-year-old man whose hair grew back after having an FMT to treat diarrhoea that hadn't gone away for six months.
    He had six rounds of FMT in 2017, and at a four week follow up, he said he had new hair.

    Some of his white hair from old age had even turned back to black, photos published in the World Journal of Clinical Cases show.
    Another team of doctors at Brown University, Rhode Island, reported two cases of hair regrowth in patients who had FMTs for stomach conditions.

    A 20-year-old man with Crohn's disease and alopecia had "significant improvement in his hair loss" after FMT.
    His condition improved from a grading of 95 to 99 per cent hair loss to 25 to 49 per cent hair loss, the doctors wrote in the American College of Gastroenterology Case Reports Journal.

    Another man, 38 years old, had lost all his body hair ten years before his FMT treatment as a result of alopecia.
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