Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Dermatology, JAMA, McGill, Mental Health Research / 17.11.2020

Editor's note: This piece discusses suicide. If you have experienced suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide and want to seek help, you can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting "START" to 741-741 or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Interview with: David-Dan Nguyen, MPH Research Fellow | Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital Medical Student | McGill University What is the background for this study? Response: There is ongoing concern about the side-effects of finasteride, a drug used for the management of alopecia and benign prostatic hyperplasia. These concerns have led to the coining of the “post-finasteride syndrome” which remains controversial. Indeed, there is conflicting evidence on the post-finasteride syndrome/adverse events associated with finasteride. We wanted to contribute to this conflicting body of evidence by examining suicidality, depression, and anxiety reports linked to finasteride use using the WHO’s pharmacovigilance database, VigiBase. Such pharmacovigilance databases are useful for the study of rare adverse events that are suspected to be associated with medication use. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 15.01.2020 Interview with: Lucia Diaz, M.D., is chief of pediatric dermatology, dermatology residency associate program director and assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at Dell Medical School. She is also co-director of the dermatology-rheumatology combined clinic at Dell Children’s Medical Center. Sasha Jaquez, Ph.D. is a pediatric psychologist at Dell Children's Medical School/Dell Children's Medical Center and specializes in seeing children with chronic medical illness, including skin disorders. What is the background for this study? Response: Trichotillomania (TTM) can be an extremely disabling chronic condition that impacts the psychosocial development of children. It is classified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as an obsessive-compulsive disorder, where a person recurrently pulls out hair from any region of their body resulting in hair loss. Recognizing this disorder and being informed of treatment options allows medical providers to correctly diagnose and intervene early in the disease course. We reviewed the psychosocial impacts of pediatric trichotillomania and the current evidence-based interventions used in the population.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology / 19.02.2019 Interview with: Eli Sprecher MD PhD Professor and Chair, Division of Dermatology Deputy Director General for R&D and Innovation Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center Frederick Reiss Chair of Dermatology Sackler Faculty of Medicine Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel and What is the background for this study? Response: Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA) is a form of hair loss (alopecia) which is extremely common and affects one in every 20 women of African origin. It starts usually during the fourth decade of life. Because it can be inherited from mothers to their children, it is thought to have a genetic basis. On the other hand, it is known to mainly affect women who use to groom their hair intensively. Thus it was thought that the disease stems from some form of inherited susceptibility to the damage incurred to the hair follicle by grooming habits. In the study we published, we searched for the genetic basis of CCCA. In contrast with the common form of alopecia (androgenetic alopecia or female pattern alopecia), CCCA is associated with scarring of the scalp skin, which means that once hair is lost, it will likely not re-grow. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Dermatology / 21.07.2018 Interview with: Keshav K. Singh, Ph.D. Joy and Bill Harbert Endowed Chair in Cancer Genetics Professor of Genetics, Pathology and Environmental Health Founding Editor-in-Chief, Mitochondrion Journal Director, Cancer Genetics Program The University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL 35294 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Decline in mitochondrial DNA content and mitochondrial function has been observed in aging humans. We created mouse to mimic those condition to show that decline in mitochondrial function leads to development of wrinkles and loss of hair. The main finding is that by restoring mitochondrial function we can reverse skin wrinkles to normal healthy skin and also regain hair growth.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Breast Cancer, Dermatology, JAMA / 15.02.2017 Interview with: Julie Rani Nangia, M.D. Assistant Professor Breast Center - Clinic Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, US What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study was fueled by the feedback from women undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. One of the most distressing side effects of their treatment is hair loss. It robs them of their anonymity and, for many, their femininity. Scalp cooling therapy has been available for a few years in the UK, but has faced obstacles in FDA clearance in the states. The makers of the scalp cooling device used in this study, Paxman Coolers Ltd., have a personal connection to breast cancer, as the company founder’s wife passed away from the disease. This was the first randomized scalp cooling study, and it shows that the Paxman Hair Loss Prevention System is an effective therapy for reducing chemotherapy-induced alopecia. The results show a 50% increase in hair preservation of grade 0 or 1, meaning use of a scarf or wig is not necessary, in patients who received the scalp cooling therapy as opposed to those who did not. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Dermatology, Immunotherapy / 15.11.2016 Interview with: Dr. Morton Scheinberg, MD, PhD From Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein and Hospital AACD, São Paulo, and Clinica Dermatosineida, Maringa, Parana, Brazil. What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: That universal hair loss associated with a localized autoimmune reaction on the cells involved with the hair follicles can be halted with tofacitinib. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Endocrinology / 27.08.2015

Abdulmaged Traish; Photo by Vernon Doucette for Boston University Photography Interview with: Abdulmaged M. Traish, MBA, Ph.D. Professor of Biochemistry Professor of Urology Boston University School of Medicine Boston, MA 02118   Medical Research: What is the background for this study?  Dr. Traish: This study was undertaken to evaluate the data in the contemporary literature on the use of finasteride and dutasteride for treatment of ( benign prostatic hypertrophy) BPH and androgenetic alopecia (AGA). These drugs were proven effective in management of patients withy BPH andandrogenetic alopecia; however, these drugs inhibit a family of enzymes widely distributed in many tissues and organs and therefore may have undesirable effects. Most importantly, few studies have been undertaken to evaluate the effects of these drugs on the central nervous system. The adverse impact of these drugs on sexual function and well-being in a subset of patients raised the questions that we do not know much about the safety of such drugs. Medical Research: What are the main findings?  Dr. Traish: The main findings of this study is that these agents, while useful in treatment of BPH and androgenetic alopecia, exert undesirable side effects on sexual function and well-being. More importantly, limited data is available on the impact of these agents on the central nervous system. (more…)
Author Interviews, Chemotherapy, Dermatology / 04.11.2014

N. T. Georgopoulos, PhD Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences Department of Biological Sciences School of Applied Sciences University of Interview with: N. T. Georgopoulos, PhD Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences Department of Biological Sciences School of Applied Sciences University of Huddersfield Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Georgopoulos: Chemotherapy-induced alopecia (CIA) is one of the most distressing side effect of chemotherapy and the anxiety caused by the prospect of Chemotherapy-induced alopecia can cause some cancer patients to even refuse treatment. Various classes of chemotherapeutic drugs such as taxanes (e.g. docetaxel), alkylating agents (e.g. cyclophosphamide) and anthracyclines/DNA intercalating agents (e.g. doxorubicin) target tumour cells due to their rapid division rate; however, these drugs also target the hair matrix keratinocytes, the most rapidly dividing cell subset in the hair follicle, thus resulting in follicle damage and ultimately hair loss. The only currently available preventative treatment for Chemotherapy-induced alopecia is head (scalp) cooling; scalp cooling during chemotherapy drug administration can substantially reduce hair loss and has been used since the 1970s. However, until recently there was inadequate biological data to support the cyto-protective capacity of cooling; yet such experimental evidence would be important to convince clinicians and patients of the efficacy of cooling. Moreover, it is not clear why in some patients scalp cooling fully protects from Chemotherapy-induced alopecia whereas in other patients it is less efficient. Finally, although scalp cooling can substantially reduce the incidence of hair loss in response to individual drugs, for some combined treatment regimens scalp cooling has much lower (and often quite limited) reported efficacy. Collectively, the need to answer these questions, and to provide ‘real’ experimental data that will support the ability of cooling to ‘rescue’ cells from the cytotoxic effects of chemotherapy drugs, led us to carry out the study. Using several cell culture models (including human hair follicular keratinocytes), we showed for the first time that cooling dramatically reduces or completely prevents the cytotoxic capacity of drugs such as docetaxel, doxorubicin and the active metabolite of cyclophosphamide (4-OH-CP), whilst combinatorial treatment showed relatively poor response to cooling. Our experimental, in vitro findings are in close agreement with clinical observations. Moreover, we have provided evidence that the minimum temperature achieved may be critical in determining the efficacy of cooling; as the lowest temperature achieved by scalp cooling can differ between patients (our unpublished observations), our findings may also explain why cooling protects from Chemotherapy-induced alopecia better in some patients but not others. (more…)