Androgenic alopecia is genetically-linked hair loss that is common in both men and wome. Women who are postmenopausal, and over half of men who are over age 50 experience patterned hair loss. Both the cosmetic and the plastic surgery industries spend a lot of time and effort looking for ways to repair hereditary hair loss, and researchers have developed something new!
What They Found
Researchers working with mice found plucked hairs in a variety of patterns that covered different sized areas, and also different densities of hair removal. They found that when they plucked the hairs in a low density pattern in a circular area over 6 millimeters in diameter, no hairs regenerated. But, when they plucked hairs in a high density pattern in this same area, between 450 and 1,300 hairs were triggered to regenerate, including ones outside the plucked region.
Why it Works
Each of our hair follicles is an individual organ, which functions in a group with the follicles around it. These follicles communicate with one another by way of chemical messengers. These messengers regulate growth cycles, and stimulate follicle production. When hairs are plucked in a precise pattern over a large enough area, the follicles in that area send out a distress signal. The combined distress signal is enough to stimulate hair regeneration in surrounding follicles that have stopped producing, so male and female pattern baldness can be reversed. The distress signal spreads beyond the pluck zone as well, so improved hair growth can be seen extending beyond this area.
When it Will be Available
Dr. Chuong and his research team from the University of Southern California are beginning human trials with this method in the near future. If all goes well, this method would be available for clinical application in as little as 5 years. Dr. Chuong also has hopes that this form of distress signal regeneration could have applications for other organs in the body, and could open the doors for healing in many other branches of medicine.
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