Geneticist with Alopecia Working for a Cure

This is a really fascinating article that was in ‘Discover’ magazine. Trust us, and read it. It’s title in the magazine is “When Women Go Bald: A scientist’s painful battle with balding drives her to find the genetic basis for hair loss”. Dr. Angela Christiano had a bout with alopecia areata a few years ago and is a highly respected geneticist. Here is just a bit from the article:

Recently, geneticists have started closing in on clues that might lead to treatments for Fadida’s disease.{ed:Fadida’s disease is alopecia} Their efforts are part of a larger push to study more than 300 known genetic hair disorders, which range from rare diseases detected in a few dozen families to male-pattern baldness, which affects hundreds of millions. What all these diseases likely share is a disruption somewhere in the complicated growth cycle of the hair follicle.

As Fadida spoke, one scientist in the group listened with particular interest. Angela Christiano, a molecular geneticist at Columbia University in New York City, presented a dramatic contrast to Fadida, mostly because of her hair. A veritable fountain of it rises high above Christiano’s skull and cascades past her shoulders in bursts of onyx and bronze. Elaborately colored and curled, it is more sculpture than hairdo, and inescapably the first thing anyone notices about her.

Despite appearances, Christiano knew exactly what the young Israeli was feeling. Diagnosed in 1996 with alopecia areata, the geneticist lost 10 large clumps from her magnificent mane before symptoms finally abated.

Since then, Christiano has cracked the genetic code of three hair diseases. Now she wants to pin down the mutations that caused Fadida’s hair loss, and in doing so, figure out what caused her own.

The article is pretty long, but seriously, if you are interested in the high level research into hairloss and alopecia, this is just a must read.

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