Last year, I briefly mentioned an interesting new study by Dr. Rachita Dhurat in regards to caffeine as a potential treatment for hair loss in men. The conclusion of that study was pretty unbelievable:
“A caffeine-based topical liquid should be considered as not inferior to minoxidil 5% solution in men with androgenetic alopecia.”
There have only ever been two hair loss treatments approved by the US FDA (Finasteride and Minoxidil). So how could an everyday product such as caffeine ever be as good as those two renowned hair loss treatments?
Surely there must be something wrong with Dr. Dhurat’s study methodology? Or perhaps the hairs that were being stimulated by caffeine were just existing weak hairs getting stronger? Minoxidil actually causes brand new hair growth (or regenerates miniaturized vellus hair) in many responders.
Caffeine and Hair Growth Research
Some other studies conducted in recent years also concluded a favorable impact upon hair growth after the application of topical caffeine.
In 2007, German researchers found that caffeine by itself was effective at stimulating hair growth.
In 2011, Italian scientists found a caffeine based lotion to be beneficial in treating androgenetic alopecia.
A 2013 report from Poland suggested that caffeine reduced 5-α-reductase activity, the main culprit (along with dihydrotestosterone — DHT) when it comes to male pattern hair loss.
In 2014, scientists from Germany found growth-promoting effects of caffeine on human hair follicles in both men and women at molecular, cellular and organ levels.
Dr. Dhurat’s study also mentions that caffeine has been shown to penetrate the hair follicle when applied via a shampoo formulation (Alpecin brand).
I doubt that caffeine can really be as effective as Minoxidil when it comes to hair growth. However, there does seem to be a decent chance that caffeine at the very least stimulates faster hair growth.
We do know that the caffeine in coffee raises cortisol levels and acts as a central nervous system stimulus. It might also prolong the anagen growth phase of the hair cycle. In a best case scenario, caffeine could perhaps also counter the harmful effects of DHT.
— Last month, I decided to stop covering medical items of interest in my once a month “brief items of interest” posts. It was becoming a bit too much work to try to pick around 5-10 of the most interesting medical developments each month among the 100s out there.
Lo and behold comes today’s potentially blockbuster medical development regarding a subject matter that I have covered on this blog several times before: the world’s first ever head transplant (or more accurately, a “full body transplant” onto an existing “live” head). It seems like the world’s first successful head transplant ***albeit between two dead people*** has just taken place successfully in China under the supervision of Dr. Xiaoping Ren (with input from Dr. Sergio Canavero/aka Dr. Frankenstein), both of whom I have covered on this blog in the past. However, the procedure was undertaken between two cadavers (i.e., dead people) so is still not really a proper head transplant. Dr. Canavero claims that the transplantation of a live human’s head to a deceased human’s still working body (i.e., a true “full body” transplant) is now absolutely imminent. Lots of coverage about this in the media today and continued skepticism (but significantly less so than in the past). Is Dr. Canavero just in it for the fame or is he for real?