How Does An Infection Start and What Are Its Effects? | GETTIK

How Does An Infection Start and What Are Its Effects? | GETTIK

How Do Infections Work and What Are Their Effects on the Body?

From Hippocrates’s writings about the spread of disease by air, water, and places, to Egyptian papyrus paintings depicting polio, infections have been recorded throughout the ages. Epidemics we’ve experienced include syphilis, leprosy, cholera, yellow fever, typhoid fever, smallpox, and plague, among other infectious diseases.

Modern medicine has largely been able to help prevent and control the spread of infectious disease by means of vaccines, as well as through public health education and prevention. Nevertheless, an infection can still result in a number of unwanted bodily effects ranging from fever and vomiting to hair loss and weight gain.

How Do You Get an Infection?

Infections can occur when microscopic living organisms enter your body and begin to multiply. Humans may contract an infection by contact with other people, animals, through the air, soil, surfaces, or through contaminated food or drinking water. The body then reacts in its own unique ways. 

An infection can result in any number of illnesses ranging from benign to fatal. Hosts with a well-functioning immune system can usually fight off the infection. Medications can also be prescribed as treatment.

Bacteria 

Humans and bacteria have a complex relationship. While bacteria are needed to aid in our digestion, give our bodies vitamins, or curdle milk into yogurt, these microscopic organisms can also give rise to life-threatening illnesses. 

Found in the human gut, soil, and water, humans can be exposed to bacteria from other people, through the environment, or from eating contaminated food, or by drinking contaminated water. Most bacteria will not hurt you, but the destructive kind can cause dangerous infections such as pneumonia and strep throat.

Bacterial strains may evolve suddenly and rapidly.

Virus

Viruses are spread through the transmission of virus particles, whether that be through direct person-to-person contact or indirect person-to-object, object-to-person contact. Unlike bacteria, viruses do not reproduce on their own. Only upon entering healthy, living cells do viruses go into action. Hijacking the cells’ metabolic machinery, they begin reproducing exponentially. These submicroscopic infections destroy healthy cells. Viruses have mostly pathogenic relationships with their hosts, causing a range of illnesses such as the common cold, meningitis, and HIV/AIDS. 

Fungi

Similar to many microbes, fungi can be both good and bad for the human body. Found in soil, on plants, on indoor surfaces, and on human skin, fungi are practically everywhere. 

Despite the millions of fungi that exist in the world, only about 300 fungi cause infections that can lead to illness. Fungal skin infections typically develop in warm, moist areas of the body such as on the feet, groin, or other folds of skin. The lack of airflow in these areas can cause fungi to thrive. Types of fungal infections include athlete’s foot, ringworm, and thrush.

Parasites

Parasites are organisms that live off of hosts in order to survive. The three main types of parasites include protozoa, helminths, and ectoparasites. Parasitic infections are typically contracted in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Among the various types of parasitic infections are sepsis, malaria, and giardia. 

The Body’s Response To Infection

Many of the typical responses we see in our body upon infection result from the immune system’s efforts to fight off foreign invaders. Fever, malaise, and inflammation are all signs that our immune systems are working hard to eliminate an infection. 

Below is information on how the different bodily systems react:

The Circulatory System

An organ system that is known to circulate and transport nutrients, hormones, and blood cells to and from the cells of the body, the circulatory system is essential to fighting illness. Many diseases affect the circulatory system. Influenza, for instance, affects this system by making breathing difficult, the heart beat faster, raising blood pressure, and increasing inflammation in the body.

A healthy heart can usually fight off infection quite well. However, the flu shot, or other preventative vaccines, are typically recommended for anybody regardless of wellbeing, age, or predisposition to disease. 

The Endocrine System

The endocrine system is made up of various glands producing and secreting hormones to regulate body temperature, growth, and metabolism. Viral or bacterial infections may cause adverse effects to the thyroid, one of the main organs in the endocrine system. 

Disorders causing inflammation in this gland are referred to as “thyroiditis.” Other signs of thyroiditis include weight gain, hair loss, dry skin, and fatigue. Thyroiditis can usually be treated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and beta-blockers; less common treatments include antithyroid medication, radioactive iodine, and surgery. Many treatment plans also include a healthy diet, regular exercise, and consistent sleeping patterns. 

Integumentary System

The integumentary system is responsible for all things related to the skin, as well as the hair and nails. This system is vulnerable to various types of infections, such as cold sores, acne, boils, warts, and ringworm. “Ringworm” is a misnomer in the sense that fungus causes the infection, and not a worm; however, “ring” refers to the circular rash it leaves on the skin. This fungal infection can ultimately result in hair loss, leading people to try hair growth products and hair fiber thickening solutions

The Muscular System

The body’s muscular system can experience mild to severe side effects of infectious diseases. Referred to as myositis, the muscles in the body react with inflammation in an attempt to heal itself. Some viruses and bacteria may directly invade the body’s muscles. Viruses are the most likely type of infection to have effects on the muscular system. Bacteria, fungal, and parasitic infections are less common. 

Although known better as an immunodeficiency virus, HIV is one example of an infection that causes adverse effects to the muscles. If left untreated, HIV can lead to AIDS. Treatment of myositis varies according to cause and severity. 

The Nervous System

Infections of the central nervous system impact the brain and spinal cord, which control all of our bodily functions, including awareness, movements, sensations, thoughts, speech, and memory. An infection of the central nervous system can cause drowsiness, confusion, and convulsions, among other side effects. Types of infections known for their impact on the central nervous system include meningitis, encephalitis, syphilis, and Lyme disease, among other types.

The Respiratory System

Respiratory infection is potentially the most well-known type of infection. Resulting in illnesses such as the common cold, the flu, sinusitis, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, and SARS-CoV-2, respiratory infections are commonly found in humans and mostly affect our lungs, noses, ears, and throats. In fact, these infections are a leading cause for seeking medical care. Side effects of a respiratory infection can range from mild to severe and may include trouble breathing, a runny nose, fever, or sore throat.

How Do You Get Rid of an Infection?

Treatment depends on the type of infection you have, as well as its severity. For a mild illness, rest and fluids usually do the trick. More severe illnesses, on the other hand, will likely need medical attention followed by a treatment plan. Treatments for bacterial infections typically include antibiotics, while viral infections may be treated with antivirals. Fungal infections are treated with antifungals, whereas parasites are treated with antiparasitics.  

Measures can also be taken to prevent an infection from occurring in the first place. This can include measures such as receiving vaccinations, cleaning cuts and scrapes, and social distancing during a pandemic. 

Many vaccines exist today, and they can help reduce your chances of being infected with a variety of illnesses. For instance, the CDC strongly recommends people get a seasonal flu shot as part of their defense against influenza. Cleaning cuts and scrapes, on the other hand, can help prevent infections by removing as many foreign materials from the body as possible.

Sweets, Salts, and Other Food Cravings Explained | GETTIK

Sweets, Salts, and Other Food Cravings Explained | GETTIK

What Do Food Cravings Mean, and How Can You Stop Them?

Food cravings can come from a variety of places and mean many different things. You can crave certain foods due to medical reasons, like nutrient deficiencies. Sleep and lifestyle may also affect your food cravings — even exposure on social media can affect cravings. Broken down below are common types of food cravings, their causes, and what you can do to keep cravings from controlling your diet.

Types of Food Cravings & Their Cause

Food cravings happen for a variety of reasons — from the nebulous something-sweet-after-a-nice-meal, to the specific chicken tacos from the food truck across the street from your first apartment. Because there’s such a large range in cravings, we’re going to narrow it down to five categories  —  salt, sugar, carbs, fat, and unusual foods — and talk about the potential psychological and biological reasons you’re experiencing cravings.

Sugar

The insatiable sweet tooth is a struggle that many people can identify with. This is because sugar — especially artificial sugar like fructose — is chemically addictive. When you eat processed sugar, it releases dopamine, a feel-good hormone, which can cause the brain and body to associate sugar consumption with comfort or reward. This makes forming an addictive sugar habit relatively easy, and can make sugar cravings particularly tough to deal with.

Salt

Salt cravings can come from several places, some of which are surprising. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance due to exercise or illness can cause salt cravings, as you lose sodium and electrolytes through your sweat, urine, and other bodily waste. Stress or premenstrual syndrome (PMS), can cause salt cravings as well.

Carbohydrates

Cravings for carbohydrates found in breads, donuts, pastries, and crackers are usually the result of high insulin. High levels of insulin can lead to carb cravings, as it burns carbohydrates instead of fats as energy. This can deprive other cells in your body of energy, which can cause you to feel hungry, or signal the supposed-need for more carbs.

Fat

The motivation behind cravings for fatty foods on a biological level are still under scrutiny by medical researchers. However, many behavioral scientists have found that following a strict low-fat diet can increase your fatty cravings. A reason extreme or exclusionary diets, most commonly seen in fad diets, might increase our cravings for the foods we’re trying to avoid is due to a built-up idealization of that food, memories associated with it, or unhappiness associated with being on a diet. This phenomenon is still unclear on a chemical level, and currently being discussed by researchers.

Unusual Cravings

If you’re craving something you’ve never had before, or an unusual combination of foods — pickles and peanut butter, for example — there could be a few reasons. A change in your hormones can change your palate, so if you’re pregnant, experiencing menopause, or undergoing any hormone-based treatments, you may find yourself craving something unusual to you. Unusual cravings coupled with other symptoms, like thinning hair or fatigue, might point to malnutrition or vitamin deficiency. These types of cravings can extend to foods with no nutritional value like ice — or non-edible foods. If you suddenly find yourself craving a raw steak, you may be low in iron or B12. Talk to your doctor to see if taking a multivitamin is a good idea for you to supplement any nutrient deficiencies that could be causing persistent unusual cravings.

How to Reduce Food Cravings

If you’re not experiencing cravings that are a result of nutrient deficiency or hormone changes, then there are quite a few strategies you can use to reduce or change your food cravings.

Plan Out Your Meals for a Well-Rounded Diet

Having a healthy meal plan can help manage your unhealthy cravings. Meal plans help bypass the instant gratification we can crave from junk food by making healthy, nutrient-rich food as accessible as junk food. There are plenty of services that you can use to help you meal plan, from blogs to paid subscription boxes, that focus on cutting costs and effort, as well as cutting down on cravings.

Avoid Addictive Foods

While you can become addicted to any kind of food, for a number of psychological reasons, some foods have a chemically higher chance of getting you hooked. Drinks especially high in artificial sugar or caffeine, like soda, energy drinks, and flavored coffees, can be incredibly addictive; high-fat snack foods, like french fries or potato chips can be addictive as well. Finding healthier snack alternatives, like air-popped popcorn or 100% fruit juice can help you cut down on unhealthy snacking and curb future cravings.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated can reduce your cravings, as the part of your brain that interprets hunger signals, the hypothalamus, also interprets thirst signals. Eight glasses of water a day is the recommended amount. Keeping a water bottle around or infusing your water with fruit slices can help you stay hydrated and stop cravings throughout the day.

Don’t Go Too Long Without Eating

This might seem counterintuitive when trying to cut down on cravings, but going too long without eating can actually worsen your cravings for unhealthy foods.This is because going too long without eating puts your body in survival mode, and the instant gratification or accessibility of junk food becomes a strong draw. If you have a small snack in between your meals — like a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit — you’ll feel more satisfied throughout the day. Eating small snacks between meals can also help you avoid choosing fast food over cooking at home, as you won’t feel such a strong need for something immediate.

Improve Your Sleep Habits

If you find yourself falling victim to late-night cravings, you may not be getting enough sleep. Sleep is essential for your metabolism to function properly, and for your frontal lobe to engage in the complex decision judgment that allows us to prioritize eating healthy. Sleep-deprivation can worsen caffeine and sugar addiction, so if you want to decrease your cravings, start with getting some more shut-eye.

Is It Wise to Follow Your Cravings?

When considering indulging your cravings, be sure to keep moderation in mind. Indulging once in a while on a chocolate cupcake or a bowl of chips isn’t evil, and, in fact, can be a great way to reward yourself. However, the danger of letting your cravings dictate your diet can manifest in two extreme ways: binge eating and food addiction.

Binge Eating

Binge eating is a type of eating disorder that can be, but isn’t necessarily, followed by purging (the coupling of these two habits resulting in bulimia). Like binge drinking, binge eating occurs when you frequently consume large quantities of food past your “full” level. Whether as a way to distract from boredom, used as a coping mechanism, or a result of food insecurity, binge eating can lead to further serious eating disorders, and associate feelings of shame or depression with fueling your body.

Food Addiction

While this may sound harmless, food addiction can be a very serious illness, and a precursor to obesity, eating disorders, and other serious mental and physical health conditions. Like many addictions, food addiction is often used as a coping mechanism. Binge eating can be a part of food addiction, as choosing to overindulge can make those suffering from it feel empowered in their circumstance, or comforted from a traumatic experience. Food addiction can stem from socio-economic status, PTSD, and stress factors.

It is important when considering food and food cravings to listen to your body’s needs, not just its wants. If you have consistent cravings for one particular food, this could be a sign of malnutrition or vitamin deficiency. Besides consistent cravings, symptoms of malnutrition may include:

  • Fatigue;
  • Fogginess;
  • Hair loss;
  • Depression;
  • Trouble concentrating.

If you’re experiencing these symptoms continually, talk to your doctor about potential nutrient deficiency or signs of thyroid problems, as the symptoms are very similar.

Food can be a sensitive subject for many, whether due to weight insecurity, eating disorders, or socio-economic factors that make food hard to access. But you do not have to villainize your cravings, no matter what your situation. Learning why you’re experiencing food cravings, as well as strategies to manage unwanted cravings, can lead you to a happier, healthier relationship with food.

Chemotherapy Side Effect Remedies | GETTIK

Chemotherapy Side Effect Remedies | GETTIK

Coping With Chemo: How to Fight Chemotherapy Side Effects

Cancer is a personal and potentially intimidating topic. According to Our World in Data’s 2019 statistics on cancer, every sixth death is caused by the disease, making it the second leading cause of death in the world. If you know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer or have been diagnosed yourself, you know that diagnosis and treatment isn’t the start of answers, but rather an introduction to a seemingly endless amount of questions.

What can happen to you while you undergo chemotherapy treatment? How can you manage chemotherapy symptoms? Below, you can find some commonly reported chemotherapy symptoms, and recommended ways to reduce their severity.

Constipation or Diarrhea

Constipation, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems like bloating, stomach cramps, and nausea can occur while on chemo. Your gut has a delicately balanced biome that medicines and treatments — especially those as extreme as chemotherapy — can disrupt, leading to discomfort. However, there are ways that you can help protect and supplement your gut health during treatment.

Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration is incredibly important if you’re experiencing constipation or diarrhea because these symptoms can make you even further dehydrated. Eight glasses of water a day is recommended for the average person, but people being treated with chemotherapy may want to drink closer to 10 or 12.

Manage Fiber Intake

University of California San Francisco’s health sector recommends 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day that does not come from supplements. Fiber supplements, probiotics, and multivitamins can be taken after you’ve reached this threshold to further combat intestinal symptoms, but reach for foods first. Some foods that are rich in fiber are:

 

  • Whole grains;
  • Brown rice;
  • Beans and legumes;
  • Fresh or dried fruit.

Avoid Fast Foods

Foods high in salt and fat can dehydrate you, which can exacerbate intestinal discomfort. Fast food and high-fat foods may also generally lack the nutrients your body needs when combatting a serious illness. Excess oil and carbohydrates can also contribute to or worsen intestinal distress.

Adjust Your Supplements and Vitamins

Chemo can take a hard toll on the body, and this could be reflected in development of certain vitamin deficiencies. Being low in vitamins like B12 and vitamin D can be linked to poor intestinal health and negative side effects. There are ups and downs to taking certain multivitamins and supplements over the counter, especially as your metabolism and tolerances change while undergoing chemo. However, for those who have consulted their doctor, the right supplements may make a difference in symptom management.

Fatigue & Weakness

Chemotherapy can be an exhaustive experience on both an emotional and physical level. You may notice increased fatigue or muscle weakness, causing you to tire faster when performing common actions like standing, walking, and doing household chores. Fatigue and muscle weakness can cause you to feel helpless or frustrated with your body’s inability to perform like it used to. The good news is that there are some ways to help combat fatigue during chemo.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can increase fatigue and worsen other symptoms, so it’s important to stay hydrated. Since hydration key to managing many chemo symptoms, feel free to experiment with fruit-infused water, carbonated water, or different decaffeinated teas to add variety.

Maintain Your Bedtime Routine

Psychological factors, like a break in your routine, can increase fatigue. If you need to take naps throughout the day, especially after performing tasks, that is perfectly okay — but try to keep your bedtime and wake-up time around the same as you normally would. Maintaining your bedtime routine will help keep your circadian rhythm on track, which can lessen symptoms of general fatigue.

Preform mind and body exercises

Physical exercise is a great way to combat fatigue, but it may not be possible for everyone, depending on the severity of their symptoms. If you can’t engage in physical exercise, try activities that focus on the mind and body. Puzzles, card games, and memory games can help combat feelings of fogginess and fatigue. Taking up new hobbies like knitting, embroidery, or cross-words can help you keep your brain engaged, and make your time feel fuller.

Signs of fatigue can be similar to the signs of depression. If your fatigue becomes unbearable, or you’re experiencing a lack of motivation or desire, talk to your doctor or mental health provider.

Hair Loss

Hair loss generally happens over time, whether due to age, the maturation of the hairline, or male pattern baldness. Additionally, acute and rapid hair loss can be caused by chemotherapy. Alopecia can also cause hair loss all over the body, in both men and women, and can be a side effect of chemotherapy. Fortunately, there are options to help facilitate hair growth, both during and after chemo. A few examples are listed below.

Hair growth vitamins and supplements

Supplements that target and strengthen the natural proteins in hair, like keratin and collagen, can help prevent or reverse hair loss. Oftentimes these supplements are water-soluble and flavorless, which means you can take them mixed into a glass of water. This is not an instant solution, but is a good one for those interested in a more natural approach to hair regrowth.

Cosmetic implants

Cosmetic hair implants can take many forms. From non-permanent solutions like wigs or toupees to semi-permanent solutions like extensions, weaves, or hair-thickening fibers, to permanent solutions like implant surgeries. Each has its merits, depending on the stage of hair loss you are experiencing and the desired look outcome.

Cold Caps

Specifically designed for chemo patients, cold caps help fight hair loss during active chemo. They use various cooling methods depending on brand or type, like a frozen gel that needs to be refrozen after use, or a refrigeration system that circulates cold temperatures throughout the garment and that requires a plug-in. According to Breastcancer.org, as of March 2019, cold caps were 50% to 65% effective for chemo patients, especially those who received taxane chemotherapy. Cold caps can cause discomfort, but have no currently reported health risks.

High Risk of Infection

Since chemotherapy targets your own immune system while fighting cancer’s ability to multiply, it can drastically decrease your ability to fight infections and viruses. It’s important to know what strategies can help you mitigate this heightened risk during your cancer treatment. Listed below are only a few crucially important strategies to lower your risk of infection — for a detailed list refer to Cancer.org’s Watching For and Preventing Infections page.

Wash your hands and body frequently

Showering or bathing daily is recommended to kill bacteria in commonly sweaty areas, like your armpits, and high germ-traffic areas, like your feet. Similarly, being hypervigilant about handwashing can decrease your risk of infection on a daily basis. This is also a great tip for anyone you live with so that you can all interact together without anyone having to worry about being a heightened risk factor.

Stay away from standing water or public swimming areas

It’s recommended that cancer patients do not swim or wade in lakes, ponds, pools, hot tubs, water parks, or any other man-made or naturally occurring water. The germ-contact risk is incredibly high in these areas, especially if you have any minor cuts, scrapes, or an installed chemo port. The same is true of standing water, like vases with living flowers, birdbaths, and pet dishes, which can be common breeding grounds of all kinds of bacteria.

Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is helpful for keeping your hands clean in public after touching common surfaces like ATMs, keypads, door handles, and other high-traffic objects. It is also helpful to carry around a small bottle of lotion, as alcohol-based sanitizers can dry out your skin and cause it to crack or bleed, which can then turn into risk areas for germs.

Nausea & Vomiting

Chemotherapy is an incredibly intense type of treatment. Your body’s defense mechanisms may perceive chemotherapy drugs as a threat and try to expel them, causing intense nausea and vomiting.

Chemo can also cause a change or decrease in appetite. It is very important to monitor this symptom, as excessive vomiting can cause severe dehydration, malnutrition, and weight loss with unexpected side effects. In some cases, prolonged vomiting has caused internal damage, which could be fatal due to increased infection risk. There are ways you can manage nausea and vomiting induced by chemo, but if you experience prolonged or intense symptoms, it’s important to contact your cancer care team.

Maintain a plain diet

While you are feeling nauseated, stick to foods that are easy to digest, such as crackers, rice, toast, apple sauce, yogurt, potatoes, and other foods without complex flavors. Eating something with a distinct smell or taste while nauseated may cause a lasting association with that food that may cause you to feel sick each time you encounter it.

Eat regularly

An empty stomach can sometimes worsen nausea, so try to eat something every two to three hours. This can help you fight nausea, maintain energy, and keep your body nourished and healthy.

Talk to your doctor about anti-nausea medications

Sometimes take a routine anti-nausea prescription can seriously curb nausea and vomiting — although watch out for worsening constipation or intestinal distress if you do. If you aren’t ready to go that serious yet, there are some solutions available over the counter, such as queasy dropsthat can help by utilizing drug-free natural solutions, like ginger, honey, and peppermint.

Know When to Call a Doctor

This is the most important way to manage your symptoms and make sure that you are as safe and healthy as possible during chemo treatment. Chemo patients may be assigned a cancer care team by their hospital, and that team, along with your doctor, is there to answer your questions, help you lower your risks, and provide the best care possible. If you’re unsure about contacting your doctor, taking a genetic test may be able to help you. This can help you detect genetic mutations associated with diseases like breast cancer, or even help with anticipating the severity of some of your symptoms while being treated with chemo. It is important to note that a genetic test is not a replacement for the opinion of a medical professional, but rather a tool that can help you, and your doctor, manage your case more efficiently. 

 

The important thing to remember is that no cancer patient should feel like they have to navigate their experience alone. Staying in contact with your doctor, leaning on your loved ones, and caring for your body are some of the best ways to help combat the side effects of chemotherapy.

Benefits of Genetic Testing | What Can Genetic Testing Tell You | GETTIK

Benefits of Genetic Testing | What Can Genetic Testing Tell You | GETTIK

What Information Can You Learn From Genetic Testing?

The boom in genetic testing began when multiple test providers started combining their DNA genealogy packages with health packages. Sales data specifics aren’t available to the public, however, reports show that genealogy test sales more than doubled in 2017 with the total number exceeding 12 million sales. Some popular at-home genetic test providers are:  

Genetic testing can be used as preventative screening for certain health reasons, understanding family heritage, and even for revealing genetic predispositions. Although genetic testing has its benefits, it’s important to be aware of the disadvantages as well.

What Is Genetic Testing?

Genetic testing looks at specific markers to determine a person’s risk of developing diseases. Getting a genetic test can help your doctor:

  • Find the cause of your disease/symptoms;
  • See if you’re at risk of developing future diseases;
  • Inform you whether or not a disease could be passed down to your children;
  • Find the best treatment;
  • Provide better counseling.

What exactly happens after a person submits their DNA sample?

  • DNA Is Prepared: The lab gets the DNA and preps it for testing.
  • DNA Is Sequenced: Depending on the type of test, there is a possibility that the lab will put the sample on a machine called a DNA sequencer. This machine reads the DNA and collects data known as short “reads” that represent a tiny portion of the total DNA sequence. Sequencing tests read the DNA, scanning for any mutations in the DNA strands. These test scans can provide detailed information about specific genes and DNA variants.

DNA Is Analyzed: Computers put together all of the information that has been acquired up to this point and compares the DNA sample to a human reference genome. The lab will then get a report that lists any variants in the DNA.

Types of Genetic Testing

Genetic testing is conducted in many ways and for many different reasons including:

  • Carrier testing: Used to identify those who carry a single copy of a gene mutation that, when present in two copies, causes a genetic disorder such as sickle cell disease. 
  • Diagnostic screening: Used to identify a specific genetic disorder in someone based on their symptoms, like Down syndrome. 
  • Forensic testing: Uses DNA to identify a person for legal cases for example, identifying human remains. It can even be used to figure out the paternity of a child. 
  • Newborn screening: This is done right after birth to identify genetic disorders that can be treated early on in life, like the cystic fibrosis heel prick test in the UK. 
  • Predictive testing: Used to detect genetic mutations associated with disorders that appear later in life, such as breast cancer, female or male pattern baldness. . 
  • Pre-implantation testing: This form of testing is available for couples who are at risk of having a child with a genetic or chromosome disorder, such as Huntington’s disease. 
  • Prenatal testing: This type of testing is offered during pregnancy if the baby has an increased risk of developing a chromosomal or inherited disorder.

Benefits of Genetic Testing

Purchasing the top DNA test kits has increased in popularity because they are helping people feel more informed about their genetic makeup and giving them the results they’ve been waiting to hear, whether they be positive or negative. The reason behind why someone needs the kit will vary along with the results they’re looking for. Aside from providing their clients with answers, genetic testing has many benefits.

Ancestry and Ethnicity

If you aren’t sure about where your family comes from, taking a DNA test might help. They often allow their users to learn about their ethnic background, where their family came from, and in some cases, different people from the past that they may be related to. Learning about your ethnic background can spark conversation about your family history and teaches you about your family’s past that you never knew.

Genetic Predisposition

Genetic predisposition is the increased chance of developing a disease or conditions due to the presence of one or more gene mutations and/or a family history that indicates an increased risk. This can cover everything from heart disease, to weight gain, or balding. However, even though it may be a genetic predisposition, preventing hair loss is possible. It is important to note that a predisposition is not an exact diagnosis, and that further testing may be done to better clarify results.

Disease

Genetic testing can help with the detection of disease within a person, both early on in life and later. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved DNA tests for 10 different diseases:

  • Parkinson’s disease;
  • Late-onset Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Celiac Disease;
  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency;
  • Early-onset primary dystonia;
  • Factor XI deficiency;
  • Gaucher disease type 1;
  • Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase deficiency;
  • Hereditary hemochromatosis;
  • Hereditary thrombophilia.

Drawbacks of Genetic Testing

Even though genetic testing has multiple benefits, it’s important to be aware of the drawbacks that are bound to follow.

Genetic Discrimination

Genetic discrimination is when people are discriminated against based on their genetics. Some fear that when they participate in genetic testing this may happen to them. These fears might also persuade people not to participate in genetic studies or testing that is necessary to continue to develop new tests. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act was created in 2008 to prevent this from happening.

May Not Be Accurate

The most common question that is asked in regards to genetic testing is their accuracy. Since DNA test companies don’t release their data, scientists aren’t able to evaluate their accuracy and validate their testing methods. Experts are torn when it comes to believing the results — some do, and some don’t.

Privacy Issues

When you provide a company with your DNA you are providing them with your genetic code. Understandably, this can be nerve wracking. There have been a few cases of security breaches with big-name genetic test sites, resulting in millions of people having their identity and associated genetic data compromised. Some people also might question the security of their family’s secrets and whether or not someone else is able to steal their identity using their DNA.

Hair Cloning 2020 | How Does It Work And When Will Be Avaliable?

Hair Cloning 2020 | How Does It Work And When Will Be Avaliable?

Hair Cloning 2018 | How Does It Work And When Will Be Avaliable?

Hair cloning is one of the most promising treatments for common genetic hair loss (a.k.a. androgenetic alopecia). It is being researched by pioneering hair restoration physicians such as Dr. Bernstein, who works in collaboration with Columbia University and hopes to be the first to develop a treatment for hair loss.

Hair Cloning And Multiplication Processes

 

Hair cloning is one of the latest fields of scientific research to make rapid advances in the quest to cure genetic baldness and androgenic alopecia.

The treatment involves the removal of around 60 to 120 hair follicles followed by the micro-dissection and removal of specific cells, which are multiplied inside a laboratory.

The new cells are then implanted into balding areas on the scalp to result in new and permanent hair. In theory, this “unlimited” supply of new hair can be created and then implanted using the original 60 to 120 follicles.

It has been suggested that this technology could become a reality by 2027.

However, substantial work is required to make “hair cloning” a successful option.

The Hair Growth Cycle

 

To know the processes involved in “hair cloning”, you first have to understand hair growth cycle as well as sheds. Hair regenerates naturally in a cyclical pattern which involves:

  • the anagen phase (growth)
  • the catagen phase (transition)
  • the telogen phase (shedding and resting)
  • and the return to the anagen phase (regeneration)

 

The stem cells found in the hair follicle base (the dermal papilla) controls regeneration processes.

The presence of an abundance of these stem cells results in fuller and thicker hair. When it comes to female and male hair loss, the number of dermal-papilla cells decreases during the anagen phase, along with subsequent hair which is miniaturized.

Eventually, dermal papilla stop generating enough cells for regeneration.

Once this occurs, there are no new hairs that need replacing and the older hair falls out, resulting in baldness.

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Hair Cloning Process?

 

Hair cloning is a process that involves the extraction of a small amount of follicular units from the scalp. The extraction is done using a local anesthetic.

These follicular units will then be cryopreserved and banked until needed.

This will be followed by unfreezing a few of the follicular units. Then processing these units to isolate specific cells that are actively involved in the production of a hair shaft.

The cells will then divide and multiply.

The cells will be injected into balding areas over the patient’s scalp.

These implants are designed to rejuvenate thinning hair and result in the production of thicker hair shafts.

Differences Between Hair Multiplication And Hair Cloning

 

The idea behind hair-cloning process involves extraction of healthy hair-follicle cells from the patient, followed by cultivating a number of clones “in vitro”.

After a period of time, the cloned cells are transplanted back into the patient’s scalp.

Hair multiplication involves hair follicles which are extracted and transplanted onto the bald areas where they will regenerate. 

Hair Multiplication

 

In hair cloning, germinative cells are usually multiplied outside the body, ideally in unlimited amounts.

On the other hand, hair multiplication involves removing hair follicles from the donor‘s scalp and manipulating them such that the number of hairs is increased significantly.

This might involve cutting or transecting hair follicles and directly implanting them into the scalp, in the hope that the hair follicles will regenerate and grow new hair.

There is another technique that uses plucked hair fragments instead of transected or whole follicles.

Hair multiplication using plucked hair is based on the idea that it’s an easy, non-invasive way to obtain germinative cells.

Furthermore, the shaft of the plucked hair serves as a ready-made scaffold where the germinative cells are introduced and aligned at the new site.

Here, the goal is to pluck a small part of the germinative cells to provide enough tissue for the formation of new follicles, while not weakening the original one.

The main problem with this method is that plucking usually yields hair with too few cells to effectively induce new hair follicles to form.

Multiplication process 2

 

Another form of hair multiplication involves plucking hairs from the beard or the scalp that are then implanted into the bald part of the scalp.

The idea here is that the germinative cells on the base of the hair follicle are highly likely to be pulled together with the follicle.

When the hair has been implanted, the cells will be able to regenerate and create a new follicle.

Examining the plucked hair via a microscope helps the doctor establish which hairs have the most stem cells and the ones that are more likely to regrow.

This procedure is referred to as “hair multiplication”, as the plucked follicles will regrow new hair, which can potentially offer an unlimited supply.

However, this technique usually has a problem in that when plucked. The cells adherent to the hair shaft don’t seem to play a major role in hair follicle growth.

Plus, the most important stem cells for hair growth, usually found around the bulge region of the follicle, often are not harvested to a significant degree.

Some researchers speculate that adding an extra-cellular matrix (ECM) with the aim of stimulating growth makes the plucked hairs much more likely to survive after they’re implanted. They may grow into fully developed hair.

However, this has been hard to document or prove in clinical trials.

The major limitation of using this new ECM-based technique is that most of the plucked hairs do not contain adequate germinative material to effectively stimulate new hair growth.

This means that only a small number of plucked hairs are actually useful in the transplant.

The other concern with this method is that a portion of the new hair is usually obtained from the skin around the recipient site instead of being solely from the transplanted hair follicle.

For this reason, we can only hope that the new hair, which contains cells from the donor as well as the recipient, will be resistant enough for the miniaturizing actions of DHT and that it won’t disappear over time.

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Hair induction method (hair cloning)

 

Hair follicles present a major challenge when it comes to cloning.

This is because the follicles are usually very complex. It’s difficult to multiply them inside a test tube; too, since they are not whole organisms. They cannot grow on their own.

Luckily, a pair of clever scientists, Dr. Colin Jahoda and Dr. Amanda Reynolds, seem to be on their way towards solving the dilemma.

In a report titled Transgender Induction of Hair Follicles, these scientists have highlighted that dermal sheath cells found in the lower parts of the human hair follicle can be isolated from one person and directly injected into the skin of another to form new intact hair.

To stimulate the development of normal, full-terminal hair follicles, the implanted cells interact locally inside the skin of the recipient.

While this is not actual hair cloning, there’s a good chance that dermal sheath cells can be multiplied inside a petri dish and later injected into the skin in great numbers to create a full head of hair.

But this form of multiplication has not been achieved yet, so take this scenario with a grain of salt.

Nonetheless, it seems that this kind of hair “induction” method is the model that is most likely to work.

 

Hair cloning

Hair Cloning (Induction) Process

 

Hair induction: Notice

 

Interestingly, in the experiment, the donor cells actually came from a male while the recipient, a female, actually grew the hair.

This aspect highlights that donor cells can successfully be transferred from one person to another without being rejected. Even in cases where the recipient was not only of the opposite sex, but also had a significantly different genetic profile, repeated implantations didn’t produce the usual rejection responses.

This shows that dermal sheath cells usually have a special immune status, and that the lower part of the hair follicle is one of the “immunity privileged” sites of the human body.

Additionally, some evidence shows that the recipient’s skin can actually affect the look of the hair. Therefore, the final appearance of the patient is more likely to resemble the original hair of the bald person more closely than that of the inducer cells of the donor.

Hair Cloning Models

 

There are four main experimental techniques for cloning hair:

  1. Implanting Dermal Papillae Cells (DP cells) alone
  2. Placing the DP cells besides other miniaturized follicles
  3. Implanting keratinocytes-containing DP cells (Proto-hairs)
  4. Using a Matrix in Cell Implantation

However, though they are minor, there are a few safety concerns that the implanted cells can exhibit malignant growth or induce tumors themselves.

But once such obstacles are overcome, certain FDA requirementsto must be met before approval to guarantee effectiveness and safety. The process entails three formalized clinical tests and usually takes years.

Hair cloning is still a work in progress, and although there has been significant recent success – especially now that we have a working model of how it might be accomplished – there’s still much work to be done.

 

What Still Needs To Be Done In Hair Cloning

 

When cloning hair, we are still confronted with a number of problems.

1. First, we need to determine the most appropriate follicular components to use. The dermal sheath cells used in the Jahoda/Amanda experiment are difficult to isolate, and may not necessarily produce the best hair.

2. Second, the extracted cells must be cultured successfully outside the body.

3. Third, a cell matrix could be required to keep the cells aligned properly when they are growing.

Finally, the cells should be injected successfully into the scalp of the recipient in a way that they can consistently induce hair growth.

With cell implantation, there are no guarantees that the induced hair will look natural in terms of color, texture, or thickness, or that the hair will grow in the right direction.

This is unlike the conventional Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) procedure where intact follicular units are implanted into the scalp, oriented in the direction the surgeon intends the hair to grow.

To alleviate the problem, the induced hair might be used in the central part of the scalp for volume purposes, and complemented using the traditional FUE procedure to produce a natural appearance.

Nonetheless, it must be ascertained that induced hair follicles can actually grow long enough to create cosmetically significant hair.

Once the hair is shed as part of the normal hair cycle, there is no guaranteed that it will grow and cycle again.

Another major technical problem in hair cloning is that the cells in culture usually start differentiating as they multiply and degenerate. Also act like fibroblasts instead of hair.

Finding the ideal environment where the cells can thrive in a way that differentiates them in a hair-like state is a big challenge for researchers.

In fact, it seems to be the single largest obstacle keeping this form of hair-loss treatment therapy from coming to fruition. It’s quite similar to the problems encountered in cloning an entire organism, since the environment where the embryonic cells grow is crucial to their proper differentiation and survival.

 

When Will Hair Cloning Be Available?

 

Stem cell and organ cloning research still in its infancy.

And even though hair cloning sounds simple in theory, there are unexpected complications when it comes to any of the latest medical technologies.

Nevertheless, research continues and every day researchers get closer and closer to a successful cure for baldness and androgenic alopecia.

Conclusion

 

With hair cloning, a sample of the patient’s germinative hair follicle cells are multiplied in vitro (outside the body). Then re-implanted into the scalp in the hope that new hair follicles will grow from them, thereby creating new permanent hair.

This is a fascinating field. Not only due to the rapidly developing nature of the science of cloning hair. But also because hair cloning methods have huge potential to yield an effective treatment that “cures” common hair loss. Many physicians and scientists have been seeking this cure for decades.

Hair cloning is a term that encompasses many different sets of ideas on how laboratory techniques can be used to solve the problem of hair loss. However, there are technical differences between true hair cloning and the hair multiplication technique for treating baldness.

Alopecia Definition | Main Types, Causes  And Treatment Guide

Alopecia Definition | Main Types, Causes And Treatment Guide

Alopecia Definition | Main Types, Causes And Treatment Guide

Alopecia is the medical term for acute hair loss and baldness. Despite alopecia being a very common disease among individuals worldwide, the technical term is not well-known and can provide images of a life-threatening illness. The truth is alopecia is just another name for hair loss and balding. It can be caused by a variety of physical and psychological factors and is found in both adults and children. Although more common in men, this condition is also experienced by women.

Main Types Of Alopecia

 

Androgenetic Alopecia

Traction Alopecia

While many individuals will view hair loss and baldness as a singular ailment, there are in fact several forms of hair loss. The most common type among women is traction alopecia. This form of hair loss and baldness is caused by a pulling of the scalp, which leads to a weakening of the hair root and follicle. This is more evident in women as women are more likely to undergo damaging hair treatments with the aim of attaining the latest hairstyle trend. Baldness among women is not necessarily caused by scalp damage, but may have a genetic element.

Alopecia areata

A second form of this ailment is alopecia areata, which refers to a patchy loss of hair. This is generally prevalent among older males and the hair loss is visible on both the head and body. Alopecia areata monolocularis means that the balding is visible in only one area; whereas alopecia totalis refers to hair loss in various areas. The monolocularis type can often progress to the experience of alopecia totalis.

Alopecia universalis

A third type of hair loss is known as alopecia universalis. This refers to a severe form of patchy balding and may result in the individual experiencing permanent hair loss on both the head and body. This will include eyebrows, eyelashes and pubic hair.

As you might imagine, for anyone experiencing alopecia, it is a distressing situation. Sticking out in society attracts gawkers, often who are negative, and make ignorant commentaries. There are many other people all over the world experiencing the same thing, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to deal with it for the rest of your life.

For a normal adult, hair is shed regularly at a rate of 20 to 100 strands per day. This should not cause any concern since a healthy body can grow back the lost hair. In a person with excessive hair loss, hair does not grow back as quickly as they are being shed. Thus, hair thinning and bald spots can be observed.

Alopecia is attributed to various causes. One or a combination of which may be a factor in extreme hair loss.

Alopecia Causes

 

It is best to start out your journey by understanding what is alopecia and why you are losing your hair.

Genetic factor

The leading reason for hair loss is simple genetics. In other words, genetics is to blame for men just barely out of their teens losing the hair from their scalp. The reason they lose their hair is now more deeply understood, which means more effective treatments are being devised.

It turns out the hair follicles are reactive to overproduction of testosterone rubbing against them. It causes shrinkage of the follicle, which forces the hair to fall out. Stop the body’s overproduction prevents hair loss.

Your genes play a huge role when it comes to hair thinning. If your father and grandfathers have had bald spots, the likelihood of experiencing the same thing is higher. While we can’t do anything about genes, there are different ways that you can do to help fight this condition and treat this as well (more on this later).

Hormones

Hormonal fluctuations may lead to body irregularities, which include abnormal weight and metabolism. Damaged cells do not get replaced as quickly as in a healthy person. To determine if hormonal imbalance occurs, a doctor may request for tests to be done. He or she will then prescribe hormonal replacements to replenish hormones in the body.

Medical Conditions and Medications

A medical condition may lead to another since every organ in the body somehow affects the rest of the organs. Sometimes, it is not directly the medical condition that causes the hair loss, but the medications used to treat the condition.

Some medications to treat arthritis, cancer depression, high blood pressure, heart problems, and for birth control may cause hair loss too. Even an overabundance of Vitamin A intake can cause hair loss too.

For example, in cancer patients, chemotherapy medications kill not just attack the rapidly growing cancer cells in the body, but also other normal rapidly growing cells. These include the patient’s hair follicles.

Allergies and Infections

Microorganisms can cause a number of skin conditions and can affect the rate of hair growth. Also, these affect the health of the hair follicles leading to brittle hair strands. The infection has to be addressed first prior to treating hair loss. Some over-the-counter anti-fungal solutions may be used to get rid of the microorganisms on the scalp.

Even infections, like ringworm, can lead to dry patches and temporary hair loss. Permanent hair loss may occur from lupus, sarcoidosis, and lichen planus.

Causes in Women

The most common cause of hair loss among females is continual hair pulling or scalp rubbing. This is generally seen among female adults who choose to engage in continuous dying of the hair and persistent hair styling. The common cause of hair loss among females and males (children and adult) is an emotional trauma or stress. The amount of stress experienced will determine the amount of hair loss and whether or not the hair loss is permanent.

Causes in Men

The most well known is the androgenetic form or genetic hair loss. This is most frequently seen among males from the age of 50 upwards and can be described as male pattern baldness. The hormones within the body will begin to alter and this can cause progressive hair loss if there is an insufficient level of testosterone or androsterone. Research has indicated that Caucasian men are more likely to develop progressive balding than any other ethnicity.

Alopecia Treatments

 

It is often thought that hair loss and baldness is irreversible and untreatable; however, this is not true. Many cases of hair loss have been treated using pharmaceutical medication such as topical minoxidil (5% for men, 2% for women) and oral finasteride (propecia) only for men.

As soon as the signs of alopecia are noticed, it is necessary to consult a medical professional in order to immediately address the condition and defining alopecia. Alopecia isn’t something that you should be ashamed of – it is a problem that has a solution. Take your time in finding which product works for you, or seek a professional’s advice to make sure you’re going the right route. Hair loss is not an all-hope is gone situation. Sometimes it just indicates some issues that need to be addressed. As a result, hair may grow back.

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