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Use of therapies to improve an individual's appearance is not a new medical concept. Androgenetic alopecia has been recognized as a disorder since the time of Hippocrates,1 and since that time, a variety of preparations and surgical procedures have been used as treatments. Recently, both the popular press and the professional literature2 have given much attention to the antihypertensive agent minoxidil for treating androgenetic alopecia. Treatment of alopecia raises a number of interesting questions regarding the definitions of “disease” and “illness,” some of which have implications for practitioners as they define the limits of proper medical practice.
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© 1988 Published by Elsevier Inc.