Will you go bald?

Will you go bald?

Thanks to lifestyle habits, today’s youngsters, in the 25-30 years age group, are losing hair more than ever before. Genomic profiling could well ensure that they do not go bald, informs  Bani Manchanda.

The process of testing DNA helps understand the number of genes, its arrangement and even the characteristics of your chromosomes. 

Genetic testing has come a long way. The international Human Genome Project worked on sequencing human DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid to create a fairly accurate way of providing a medical prediction on the possibility of a person contracting a particular disease or ailment in the future. 

Essentially, the analysis is, literally, of all the genes in the body and how they interact with each other and the environment. This profile shows gene patterns, and therefore, points out to any indications of the onset of an ailment. The benefit of such testing is that one may know, well in advance, of the possible onset of an ailment, and work towards preventing it. The fact that the test is minimally invasive is an icing on the cake!

While the concept is now being used in various branches of medicine - to help understand and prevent chronic ailments - it is only recently being applied to cosmetology and dermatology to predict the possibility of balding, onset of psoriasis and other such hair and skin diseases. Once the results of the tests are in, medical professionals will be able to provide intensive help that will prevent the ailment from manifesting itself. This may range from surgical hair transplants and drug-based treatments or a number of other specific procedures, depending on the results of the genetic analysis.

Every person’s DNA is a mix of traits from the parents. The combination of genetic information results in traits such as your blood type, the colour of your hair and eyes and even how prone you may be to a certain illness. Some of the traits that may be analysed include male pattern baldness and female alopecia frequencies.  So, it can predict, with accuracy, if the man you are going to marry will become bald at 40!   A genomic profile is not age-specific and can be done right from the age of one. In order to get a profile done, 4-5 ml of blood samples are drawn from the body. Mouth swabs of saliva are also taken and analysed. The process takes around a month, as the testing machine requires a minimum of six to ten different samples to run the tests cost-effectively. 

Getting your genomic profile done can cost you about Rs 60,000, if the gene samples are sent to US laboratories, or about Rs 30,000, if done locally.Thanks to modern lifestyle habits, today’s youngsters, in the 25-30 years age group, are losing hair more than ever before. With timely genomic profiling, healthcare professionals will be able to fashion a customised treatment plan to ensure the health of hair and lower the chances of balding. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. 
(The author is the founder & director of Hairline International Hair and Skin Clinic)

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