McElwee is an associate professor in the Department of Dermatology and Skin Health at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in British Columbia, Canada and director of the Hair Research Laboratory in the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHI) at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH). A hair research scientist, McElwee is one of only a small group of research scientists worldwide who studies hair biology and associated diseases.
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And, for all of these collective efforts, Christiano reminded me, the only things that have really worked were discovered accidentally. Soon to join minoxidil and finasteride will be Xeljanz, or tofacitinib: originally developed for rheumatoid arthritis, it has remarkable effects on hair growth for patients with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes patients to lose hair in big patches over their entire bodies.
Many other women, though, start noticing thinning hair on top of their heads. Doctors say the defining sign is a widening of the part. The hairline itself is usually intact, but the hair becomes less dense behind it. Doctors will often run a battery of tests to make sure there are no treatable medical conditions, such as anemia, thyroid problems, tumors, or hormonal problems. "Ninety percent of the time, it's normal," Patel said.