Radiation hair losing treatments may be more effective than traditional therapies, but the treatments are not available without expensive equipment, a new study says.
The study, led by a team at Harvard Medical School, found that hair loss treatment and radiation therapy are equally effective, according to a report released Monday.
The findings contradict the view that radiation is safe and beneficial, said lead researcher Dr. Shari Lachman, who is also an associate professor at the Harvard Medical Center and director of the Harvard-MIT Radiation Oncology Institute.
The Harvard-MSCI study is the first to provide evidence that these treatments can be equally effective as traditional therapies.
The team looked at how patients treated for hair loss in the United States and compared the results to people who did not have hair loss at all.
The results showed that those with severe hair loss were treated more severely than those with normal hair loss.
More: The team also found that the treatment was less effective than radiation treatment, meaning that people who received radiation had fewer hair loss treatments than those who did receive the treatment.
The treatment did not significantly reduce hair loss over a year or two, but it was effective over a shorter period of time.
In other words, it may be that it has less effect over a short period of months, but that is not a long-term treatment.
That could mean it is a long term treatment, but longer-term hair loss can be prevented, said Lachmann.
If people are getting treatment for hair disease, it is very important that it be effective, she said.
If the treatments don’t work, people have other options.
Lachman’s team, led out by Harvard-Boston School of Public Health senior scientist Dr. Daniel T. Smith, also included researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, the National Institutes of Health and the University at Albany.
The research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and a National Institutes, Defense and Veterans Affairs Medical Research Service (Varianity), Merck Foundation, and the Sloan Foundation.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.
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