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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Alopecia universalis

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* Not a rare disease
Other Names for this Disease
  • Alopecia areata universalis
  • Alopecia universalis congenita
  • AU
  • Generalized atrichia
  • Loss of all hair on the body
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Overview


Alopecia universalis is an uncommon form of alopecia areata.[1] Alopecia areata is hair loss of unknown cause, characterized by round patches of complete baldness.[2] Alopecia universalis, which presents itself as the loss of hair over the entire scalp and body, is an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles. While there is neither a cure for alopecia areata nor drugs approved for its treatment, some people find that medications approved for other purposes can help hair grow back, at least temporarily.[3] Since the hair follicles of individuals with alopecia universalis remain alive, hair regrowth may occur even without treatment and even after many years.[1] 
Last updated: 5/8/2012

References

  1. Types of Alopecia Areata. National Alopecia Areata Foundation. 2011; http://www.naaf.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_alopecia_types. Accessed 5/8/2012.
  2. Alopecia areata. MedlinePlus. 2010; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001450.htm. Accessed 5/8/2012.
  3. Alopecia Areata: Questions and Answers About Alopecia Areata. National Institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disorders (NIAMS). January 2012; http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Alopecia_Areata/. Accessed 5/8/2012.
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Basic Information

  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
  • The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases, the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research, and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. Click on the link to view this information. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is an catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Alopecia universalis. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.

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