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World Largest Hair Congress Convene in Vancouver

The fifth International Congress on Hair Research will be convened in Vancouver from June 13 to 16. It is the largest gathering of hair experts, with clinicians and scientists examining many aspects of hair disease and treatment.

Whether long or short, thin or thick, loosing hair can weaken a person emotionally. Hair loss is not simply a matter of aesthetics but can also influence career advancement and emotional well being, adds Shapiro, who is a member of Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI) and clinical research director at the Hair Research Laboratory at the Skin Care Centre at VGH.

Along with workshops and symposiums, experts will be trying to help patients from the University of B.C.'s hair clinic suffering from a range of hair problems.

They vary from cicatricial alopecia, a rare disorder that destroys the hair follicle and replaces it with scar tissue, and alopecia areata, an autoimmune skin disease resulting in hair loss, to more common disorders such as male pattern hair loss and women who have too much hair. Session topics include chemotherapy-induced hair loss, tissue engineering of hair follicles, nutrition and hair growth, pigment biology and hair-related surgery.

One of the main topic of discussion here, will the stem cell therapy. Stem cells found in hair follicles could one day heal people with paralysis or neurological diseases. Stem cells can be grown into different types of tissue. The ones thought to have the most potential to heal are embryonic stem cells.

We think that hair-follicle stem cells may be an alternative for many of the applications," said Dr. Robert Hoffman, a San Diego researcher. They're very readily accessible [and] it's not an invasive procedure."

Hoffman's research team found that hair-follicle stem cells could form the cells that build neurons, blood vessels, muscle cells and brain tissue.

The UBC lab, one of only a few that de al with hair research, is investigating the connection between the immune system and hair growth, as well as between hormones, aging and hair growth. People looking for a new baldness treatment can take comfort in the researchers' compassion for them.

Hair loss has sprung a $7-billion-a-year industry in North America as people shell out big bucks for hair transplants, an overabundance of lotions, potions and clinically tested drugs that promise to restore their locks.

Many of the drugs available are not completely effectively. Many have side effects like sexual impotency.

Many scientists believe that environmental conditions are responsible for the growing number of baldness along with genetic from either side of the family.

Scientists are also researching whether implanting the cells into bald heads can generate hair growth.


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