Oscar telecast started conversation about alopecia

Author Ed Anderson

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Alopecia is a rare autoimmune conditionCC0 Dominio publico via pxhere

Will Smith left his seat and smacked Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The moment is the most talked about from Sunday's telecast of the Academy Awards, and there are people on each side. There is more to the story than the anger between the two men.

The joke Rock made: "Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it. Alright?"

Before storming to the stage, the camera caught her husband laughing at the joke, then noticing that she was not amused. Pinkett Smith was dressed in a green gown and chose to show her hair loss, which many hailed as a courageous thing to do.

After the incident, Smith could be heard telling the comedian not to talk about his wife with some expletives. The mood in the Dolby Theatre shifted to something more uncomfortable and a sense of everyone just wanting to get out of there.

At the center of the fight is Pinkett Smith. According to Medscape, she suffers from alopecia. This autoimmune disease sees immune cells attacking hair follicles, causing the hair to fall out. CNN reports that the actress opened up about fighting the disease in 2018 and has been an outspoken advocate for those suffering from it.

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Alopecia causes hair losscristhianelouback0 via Pixabay

More About Alopecia

Most people only lose patches of hair, though it is not unheard of for a patient with alopecia to lose all of their hair. The Michigan Dermatology Institute (MDI) says losing between 50 and 200 follicles a day for an average person. However, someone with the autoimmune disease can lose much more.

According to Medscape, 6.8 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with alopecia. It is rare for someone to have alopecia. Though the Henry Ford Health System says that it is a genetic trait and becomes more common once a family member has dealt with it.

Most cases are diagnosed by the time a person turns 30. There are cases, such as Pinkett Smith, where it can be caught in a person older than that, but it is rare.

When doctors are looking to diagnose a patient with alopecia, they look for immune cells surrounding hair follicles. They also want to try and find out if there is a family history of the disease. Most times, they can do a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis, according to Yale Medicine.

Dr. Brett King told Yale Medicine: "Historically, when there was not a whole lot else available, if you were dismayed enough by your condition, you suffered through it..."

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There are some treatments for alopeciapimnana via Pixabay

Treatment And Cure

At this time, there is no cure for alopecia. But several treatments can help manage the condition. The method in which it is treated will depend on the patient's age and how severe the disease is affecting the person.

Doctors will usually suggest prescription-strength corticosteroids for those older than 10 years old. These ointments or injections usually will help patients, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association. The other treatment that can be given to patients is minoxidil, aka Rogaine. It can help with facial hair and the scalp.

When it comes to treatments for those younger than 10, there are a few options. Basically, using the same methods as those that are older. However, doctors are generally hesitant to inject corticosteroids into younger patients, and instead, they usually prefer the topical method.

Another treatment is being spearheaded by Dr. King. He's been researching Janus kinase inhibitors, medications that disrupt signals to the immune system. The drug that caught Dr. King's attention was Xeljanz, which has been approved by the FDA to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It is also being tested for psoriasis.

In lab experiments, Dr. King said that it has been shown to regrow hair in mice.

He told Yale Medicine about a patient he tried it on: "Eight months later, he had a headful of hair and eyelashes and eyebrows for the first time in years, which was the first demonstration of such a result. Now, that result has been repeated many times."

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Ed Anderson is a true crime and gossip writer from Detroit, Michigan. Ed is the author of several true crime books, most recently Cold Cases From Around The World.

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