OCT Plus AI Can Quickly and Accurately Monitor Hair Regrowth

Optical coherence tomography plus artificial intelligence methods can accurately and efficiently monitor hair growth therapies, suggests a new study in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.

One of the challenges in developing effective hair loss therapies is the lack of reliable non-invasive methods to monitor treatment response or alopecia progression, but optical coherence tomography (OCT) and automated deep learning can non-invasively evaluate hair and follicle counts that may be used to monitor the success of hair growth therapy more accurately and efficiently.

“Hair loss often causes emotional trauma, and current hair growth treatment evaluation methods are all invasive to some degree, furthering that trauma. We wanted to develop a method that is no worse than simply taking a picture,” says Gregor Urban, MS, a PhD student at the University of California, Irvine.

Optical coherence tomography can be used as a completely non-invasive method for evaluating the effectiveness of hair growth therapies, unlike currently used methods, which are all invasive to certain degrees. Given that the three-dimensional imaging data from the OCT device is very labor intense to evaluate manually, artificial intelligence methods can be used to identify and count all hairs and follicles in the scans automatically and rapidly.

In the study, the proposed method was evaluated on a total of 70 different OCT scans and found the automated deep learning system’s accuracy to be similar to human evaluators, but significantly faster.

This approach is well positioned to become a standard for non-invasive evaluation of hair growth treatment progress in patients, saving significant amounts of time and effort compared to manual evaluation, the study authors conclude.

NEA Launches Free App To Help Those With Eczema Better Manage Condition

The National Eczema Association (NEA) launched EczemaWise, a new app to help people living with eczema manage their condition and log information that could lead to more effective treatment. EczemaWise is free and available for Android and iOS and as a web app.

EczemaWise helps users record nine different disease and care factors including itch intensity, skin symptoms and skin pain, stress, sleep, weather, triggers, diet and treatment; document and prepare for upcoming doctors’ appointments; and identify trends and patterns in their eczema experience so they and their doctor can better determine the most effective treatments for them. Patients can upload images to the app to track and document how their condition changes over time.

“One of the most challenging aspects of eczema can be its unpredictability and we’ve heard the need in our community for an effective tool to stay on top of it,” says Julie Block, president and CEO of NEA, in a news release. “EczemaWise enables patients and caregivers to easily track what’s important, including triggers and symptoms in one place and make sense of it.”

The app’s release coincided with October’s Eczema Awareness Month, which is focused on education, or getting “eczema wise.”

NEA is holding a challenge that runs for eight weeks starting November 1, 2020. App users who track any piece of data at least three times each week will be entered into a drawing of 25 swag bags featuring eczema care products from Aizome, Burt’s Bees, Cerave, Gladskin, La Roche-Posay, and Water Wipes.

Patients Report Positive Telehealth Experiences

People who have tried telehealth since the onset of COVID-19 have a significantly different perception of its value than those who’ve not yet experienced a virtual doctor appointment, and they wish to use it again in the future, according to findings from a survey from MyHealthTeams.

Those who have tried telehealth since March (versus those who have never tried it), rate it significantly higher than in-person appointments on four key measures:

  • More convenient: 67 percent (versus 43 percent)
  • Safer: 64 percent (versus 41 percent)
  • Easier: 62 percent (versus 37 percent)
  • Better for routine matters (such as checking in, refilling prescriptions, referrals): 57 percent (versus 47 percent)

A majority (57 percent) of those who have tried telehealth since March say they are likely to use it post-pandemic—as compared to only 33 percent of those who never tried it.