Japanese develop MRI that measures hair regrowth, density and loss

The latest technological innovation in the hair loss market is a ‘scalp MRI’ that can monitor treatment of androgenetic alopecia, commonly known as male pattern baldness. The Men’s Health Clinic in Tokyo, Japan has a specialty outpatient clinic providing treatment of this progressive form of hair loss and they have responded to a common problem which is providing evidence-based results of how treatment is progressing.

This new high resolution imaging of the scalp can pinpoint any slight increase or decrease in the amount of hair as well as estimate hair regrowth and thickness. Conventional MRI scans use strong magnet and radiofrequency waves to generate an image of the head or body and can detect pathological changes in a brain tumour, for example, of about 2 to 3mm. This new scalp MRI produces a resolution about 15 times higher so it can minutely analyse the hair follicles.

The Japanese scientists also developed an algorithm for semi-automatically analysing the number and thickness of hairs based on the data they collected from the MRI scan. They aim to continue to improve the technology so it can be rolled out for commercial use.

Androgenentic alopecia explained

This progressive, genetic form of hair loss is the most common hair loss condition to affect men – it’s thought that over 50 per cent of men over the age of 50 are experiencing it to some degree and two-thirds of all men will eventually be affected.

It’s caused by a genetic sensitivity to the male hormone dihydrotestesterone or DHT. DHT targets the hair follicles and, over time, they become smaller, producing thinner, finer hair until eventually the follicles stop producing hair at all.

There are a number of treatment options that have been developed to halt the progression of androgenentic alopecia and encourage regrowth and often they are combined to produce optimal results. If you are worried about hair loss, call 020 7580 8356 to book a consultation at Dr David Fenton’s Harley Street Hair Loss Clinic for assessment and advice.