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DOCTOR SAYS HAIR GROWTH, BLOOD VESSELS CONNECTED

 DOCTOR SAYS HAIR GROWTH, BLOOD VESSELS CONNECTED
 HOUSTON, Nov. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- At a conference entitled "Nitric


Oxide and Vascular Protection" at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston doctor Peter H. Proctor reports a connection between blood vessel linings and balding.
 According to Dr. Proctor, the blood vessel lining produces a blood- pressure lowering substance, nitric oxide, which is also a natural hair growth stimulator. "Your body uses nitric oxide as a messenger in many different systems," says Dr. Proctor. "One of these happens to be hair growth."
 Nitric oxide produced by blood vessels apparently leaks into the hair follicle and stimulates hair growth. Damage to the vessel lining decreases the amount of nitric oxide produced and may make baldness worse. Scientists already know that both hormones and the immune system play primary roles in balding.
 "A role for the blood vessel lining in balding explains a lot of puzzling observations," says Dr. Proctor. For example, researchers report an association between severe progressive balding and high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries and heart attacks. "In all of these diseases, nitric oxide production falls due to vessel damage or hereditary conditions."
 Similarly, the UpJohn Corporation's antibaldness and antihypertensive medicine Minoxidil apparently both grows hair and lowers blood pressure by imitating nitric oxide, a close chemical relative. Minoxidil even has the nitric oxide chemical structure (NO) in its name.
 "Many other high blood pressure agents won't work if natural nitric oxide production is severely impaired. Since Minoxidil directly imitates nitric oxide, it lowers blood pressure when other agents fail," adds Dr. Proctor. Minoxidil also reverses balding because of the coincidental role of nitric oxide in hair growth, and not because of dilating blood vessels, he says. Thus, another compound, NANO, stimulates hair growth but doesn't dilate vessels.
 The future treatment of balding might involve techniques for increasing local levels of nitric oxide. For example, "We already know that some agents which inhibit nitric oxide breakdown in the test tube stimulate hair growth," says Dr. Proctor. "Who knows what else we will find."
 -0- 11/4/92
 /CONTACT: Kathy Wright, 713-960-1616, for Peter H. Proctor, Ph.D., M.D./ CO: Baylor College of Medicine ST: Texas IN: MTC SU:


KD -- NY053 -- 2544 11/04/92 13:45 EST
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Date:Nov 4, 1992
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