New Genetic Androgen Sensitivity Test Helps Predict Finasteride Response in Female Hair Loss Sufferers

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Bauman Medical Group is one of first to provide finasteride test for women.

A new simple genetic test could help tens of millions of female hair loss suffers determine whether or not finasteride (brand name: Propecia) may be an effective treatment for them to regain lost hair.

Although finasteride remains the primary FDA-approved treatment for male pattern hair loss, doctors have been reluctant to prescribe it 'off-label' for women with hereditary hair loss (androgenetic alopecia or AGA) due to the risk of potential birth defects in sons of women of childbearing age and conflicting studies regarding its effectiveness. However, anecdotal reports in the medical literature of the successful treatment of women with finasteride have spurred scientists to develop a new test to help doctors more accurately select female patients who might respond to the treatment.

"We know that finasteride is 90-percent effective for male pattern hair loss, but we've seen only about a 50/50 chance of success with our female patients," said Alan J. Bauman, M.D., a board-certified hair restoration surgeon whose practice is divided equally between male and female patients. "Prior to this test, we've taken the wait-and-see approach with female patients. For those women who did not respond well to the treatment, it was a waste of time and money. This new test will be a tremendous asset in our fight against female hair loss, as we now have a scientific way of predicting how a woman may respond to finasteride before prescribing it."

Androgen sensitivity is calculated from an epigenetic weighted evaluation of the CAG alleles on the Androgen Receptor (AR-CAG) gene obtained from a simple cheek swab. Implicated in a number of medical conditions like acne, hirsutism and polycystic ovary syndrome, androgens can also interfere with hair growth in many who are genetically susceptible to hereditary hair loss. New studies suggest that female patients with a high degree of sensitivity to androgens are much more likely to benefit from finasteride as it decreases the production of the androgen hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a known trigger for hair loss in men.

"If a woman's score on this test shows a strong androgen sensitivity (bi-allelic CAG repeat score <24), she's likely to benefit from treatment with finasteride," Dr. Bauman said. "In fact, early studies suggest that she could see a 25-percent improvement in her hair count within the first six months."

Dr. Bauman is one of the first U.S. physicians to provide this test for women with hair loss. Dr. Bauman recommends that those concerned about hair loss seek advice from medical professionals who have experience and expertise in diagnosis and who have access to results-tracking technology--like microscopic hair density measurements and the HairCheck Trichometer--before starting any therapy. For more information, visit his website at http://www.baumanmedical.com.

ABOUT DR. BAUMAN:

Alan J. Bauman, M.D., founder of Bauman Medical Group in Boca Raton, Florida, is an internationally renowned and board-certified hair transplant surgeon. Dr. Bauman is certified by the American and International Board of Hair Restoration Surgery and recommended by the American Hair Loss Association. He is a featured lecturer at national and international medical conferences and Live Surgery Workshops.

Dr. Bauman is regularly consulted by national news media organizations, and has been featured in Newsweek (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15768086/site/newsweek/%22target=_blank%22), The New York Times, Cosmo, Vogue, Allure, Harpers Bazaar, Men's Health (http://www.scribd.com/doc/34049683/Men-s-Health-Magazine-Hair-Transplant-Dr-Alan-Bauman), Today (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOA2QmSXmSg&feature=related), The Early Show, Good Morning America, Extra, Access Hollywood, and Dateline NBC (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThL7ZgFIgtc).

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Michael Sias
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