Laser Comb, Cloning to Re-grow Hair?

bald, hair loss, generic AP

Male pattern baldness affects nearly 70 percent of men by age 35, and 85 percent by age 50!

And it's not just men who have to worry: Many women experience thinning hair, too.

But there are methods meant to stop hair loss and even induce re-growth - old ones are evolving and new ones continue to pop up.

Hair restoration specialist Dr. Alan Bauman of Palm Beach, Fla., discussed the latest techniques, and some that've been around awhile, on "The Early Show Saturday" edition's special broadcast, "New Year, New You."

Bauman, a Board-certified hair restoration surgeon, told CBS News Correspondent Jeff Glor and CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton about some solutions developed to stop thinning hair and actually re-grow some of those lost follicles:

What are the main causes of baldness with men and woman?

Hair loss can be influenced by medications, illness, nutrition, stress, smoking, etc. but the most common cause of hair loss is HEREDITY.

What about stress? A bout of severe stress can shut down follicles and create a shedding problem that lasts for months. Long-term stress can accelerate hereditary hair loss.

THE LASER COMB

Does it really work?

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) can be quite effective when used properly. LLLT is certainly no miracle cure for hair loss. But the laser comb has been OK'd by the Food and Drug Administration for both safety AND effectiveness. It is cleared for hair growth and the treatment of hair loss. Like other non-invasive treatments, some patients get better results than others, and compliance (with directions) is certainly a big issue. However, there are patients who seem to be exceptional responders to this therapy. LLLT is a non-chemical, non-invasive option to help people grow fuller, thicker, healthier hair.

How does it work?

Typically, you will apply laser therapy to the scalp two or three times each week. The length of time varies with each different device.

Is the laser dangerous at all?

In nearly 30 years of use, there has never been any concerning side effects from properly-applied low level laser therapy.

How much will these lasers set you back?

Portable lasers range from a few hundred dollars to $2,500 or more, depending on the device and treatment times. Typically, the more expensive devices have more "bells and whistles" and shorter treatment times.

What does future hold for this technique?

New technology in LLLT will improve the compliance and portability of at-home units. Also, non-invasive, simple hair measuring devices will be appearing in doctors' offices and even in high end hair salons.

HAIR CLONING

Will it become a reality in the near future?

I'm optimistic, but I'm disappointed by the slow progress in this area of research. If you are waiting around for "hair cloning," that's a huge long-shot bet and each month that goes by, more and more hair loss is happening.

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