Hi everyone, it's been a while...
Sorry for being absent from the forum for so long! Longstanding members will know that I used to be a regular here, but over the last couple of years I've had two kids and been preoccupied with work and family and everyday life; my concerns about hair loss have faded into the background. I've allowed my regimen to lapse, more or less, and I've not been motivated to even look at the hairloss forums, leave alone had anything to say on them. Until now….
The other day, in an idle moment I decided to browse one of my old stomping grounds, the forums over at well-known American site Hairlosstalk. I instantly noticed a thread title - "Bryan Shelton" - and was, upon opening it, shocked to see the sad announcement of his tragic death back in September. Newer members may well be wondering, "Bryan who?", but for those of us who have any prior history of interest in internet discussions of male pattern baldness, its causes and treatment, this name will be almost legendary. Bryan was one of the most prolific, expert, and hugely-respected stalwarts of what you might call 'the online hair loss community' since the early days of newsgroups in the mid 90s.
After I first started experiencing MPB around 2005, I immediately took to the net in search of solutions and came across the strange world of hair loss forums. They were a mixed bag but you noticed a few discussions between people who had clearly read the research literature and knew their stuff. One man in particular kept cropping up, notable for the quality of his contributions and the clarity of his explanations - Bryan.
I engaged in a number of discussions with Bryan a few years back, and, like many of us, read loads more of his posts passively. He was a man of tremendous knowledge and - as someone else said elsewhere - great decorum. The hairloss community sadly has a fair share of spammers, trolls, mono-maniacs and keyboard warriors, but Bryan was a font of wisdom and a beacon of reason. An armchair researcher, a citizen scientist, we have lost someone who, on his own time took the trouble to actually dig out scientific journals in academic libraries. He sometimes seemed to know more about hair loss than many dermatologists and research scientists. Not bad for a guy in his middle years who, apparently, didn't have a degree and last worked as a printer repair technician.
Towards the end of his 'forum career' there were accusations from some quarters that Bryan was too much of an advocate for a certain treatment (he always denied doing anything unethical). Whatever you feel about that episode, I don't think that should sully his magnificent contribution. He helped many hundreds of men to understand what really causes MPB and how to treat it while avoiding the very many snake oils and con artists out there. He was an advocate for scientific method, a disseminator of knowledge, and - although I never met him in person, saw his picture or heard his voice - seemed like a genuinely decent guy.
A little late I know, but my thoughts are with his friends and family.
RIP Bryan Shelton - you will be sorely missed.