Reversing Hair Follicles May End Baldness
Hair loss is a common problem for both men and women, especially those over the age of 50. While some experience uniform thinning of their hair, others may have spots or complete baldness. In spite of new medications and treatment methods that have been developed, little success has been found in preventing or reversing balding. And although surgery has been successful for some, results are not consistent.
According to the findings published in the science journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, research performed by a team of scientists from the Columbia University Medical Center found a new way of encouraging hair follicles to grow. Hair follicles and dermal papilla cells were transplanted together, upside down and in a 3-dimensional sphere of cells, so that the cells were able to communicate with each other and send the signals needed to start the hair growth process. Performing the process on the skin from circumcised babies, hair was grown in five of seven cases, leading to hirsute patches of growth that lasted a minimum of six weeks.
The results of the study suggest that hair can be encouraged to grow on skin where hair would normally not, with cells that have no capacity for hair growth. If the researchers are able to advance the techniques used in the study successfully, it will provide a solution for all types of baldness in men and women, in addition to burn patients who no longer have the layer of skin that contains hair follicles.