STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY DURING THE HOLIDAYS

With the holidays coming up, the highlight for many people during this season is gathering with family and friends and enjoying favorite holiday treats. Here are some tips that will help you enjoy your holidays to the fullest while not increasing your waistline.

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MAKING AND KEEPING NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

Only 8 percent of individuals achieved their resolutions in 2016, according to Statistic Brain. This is likely due to most people having unrealistic expectations about the speed, ease and consequences of the resolutions they make. People attempting self-change rarely succeed the first time; most need five or six attempts, according to a paper published in American Psychologist by Janet Polivy and Peter Herman. The authors suggest false hope syndrome is the cause for failure.

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HEALTHY HOLIDAY OPTIONS

The holidays are a wonderful time to gather with family and friends to celebrate. These celebrations often consist of many delicious treats and hardy meals. You can still maintain a healthy diet with a little thought and planning in advance. Research from a recent Web-based survey found 18 percent of people feel they cannot eat healthily during the holidays because they don’t want to miss out on their favorite foods. You can still eat the foods you enjoy this season, just in moderation.

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and this will regenerate hair follicles and improve hair growth. One study showed SM04554 was safe for use with very few side effects. A second study’s results look promising: Follicle counts increased even after treatment had ceased after 90 days. A third, larger-scale study performed with more than 300 male subjects found hair count and density increased.


An autoimmune disease called alopecia areata causes complete hair loss, including the eyebrows and eyelashes. In a study conducted at Stanford, Yale and Columbia universities, 66 alopecia areata patients received the rheumatoid arthritis pill Xeljanz. More than half the subjects saw hair regrowth. A third recovered more than 50 percent of their hair loss. In another study, nine of 12 patients with alopecia areata recovered more than 50 percent of hair growth using a similar drug, Jakarfi, which is approved for cancer treatment. Medical researchers are evenly split about whether a topical ointment from either of these drugs may be useful for male pattern baldness.


The carrot on a stick many men are waiting for is multiplication via cloning. It is said to be five years away. The idea is to take hair unaffected by DHT from the back of the head and miniaturize and clone it to make hundreds or thousands of similar hairs. Although there has been success with this procedure in experiments, it remains too costly and impractical for the market.

Some men look in the mirror and regard a receding hairline with distress, wondering if there is a cure for baldness. Currently, the only truly effective medically proven way to arrest hair loss is to lower dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels. DHT is a form of testosterone that regulates beard growth and hair loss. Higher levels of DHT produce fuller beards at the cost of male pattern baldness. Lower levels of DHT ensure a full head of hair at the cost of the inability to grow a beard. Two treatments clinically proven to be successful for male pattern baldness are finasteride and minoxidil.


Finasteride, the generic name for Proscar and Propecia, works by inhibiting the enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT. A 1-mg dose of finasteride taken daily can lower DHT levels by as much as 60 percent. This decrease has proven to stop the progression of hair loss in 86 percent of men taking the drug during clinical trials, and 65 percent of trial participants experienced a substantial increase in hair growth. However, finasteride doesn’t work for everyone. Its biggest downside is its side effects, which include impotence, swelling of hands or feet, dizziness, headache, runny nose and skin rash.


Minoxidil (Ionitne) was the first drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of male pattern baldness. Originally used to treat high blood pressure, minoxidil caused hair growth in unexpected places, such as the cheeks and forehead. Topically applying minoxidil to

BATTLING BALDNESS

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

balding areas has been clinically proven to slow the progression of hair loss and regrow some hair. But most experts see it as a marginally effective drug because it does not affect the hormonal process of hair loss. Its positive effects are often temporary.


U.S. scientists exploring how certain cancer tumors form stumbled upon cells that make hair turn gray. The protein KROX20, commonly associated with nerve development, is also progenitor or precursor cells that become the hair shaft. These cells then produce another protein called stem cell factor that is essential for hair pigmentation. The results were published in the journal Genes & Development.


A new drug, SM04554, is in the beginning phases of testing. Instead of blocking DHT as finasteride does, SM04554 enables the Wnt pathway, which is known to cause hair growth. In addition to generating new hair follicles, the Wnt pathway is also believed to initiate and maintain the active phase of hair growth. The natural process of the Wnt pathway can be blocked by a protein called DKK1. Researchers theorize SM04554 can inhibit DKK1 from stopping the Wnt pathway,