New Cure for Baldness? See the Hair Raising Truth of a Harvard Study
Hair loss impacts both men and women and can have a negative impact on the self-confidence and self-image of a person. Balding and/or thinning hair can be caused by various factors including heredity, a hormonal imbalance, autoimmune conditions, medications, or an infection. Scientists have spent many years researching hair loss and trying to find a cure for baldness. While a simple cure for baldness has not been found yet, there is some indication that one might be here in the near future.
Harvard University and a Possible Cure for Baldness
It was revealed earlier this year that scientists at Harvard University think they might have discovered a method that can restore hair that has been thinning or balding.
The scientists conducted experiments on mice that identified the mechanism that results in hair loss in rodents due to stress. The research team believes their findings might be able to be translated into a hair restoration treatment that can treat all hair loss causes.
Ya-Chieh Hsu, of Harvard University, said “We are definitely excited by these findings – I think the technique has great potential.” Hsu did add a note of caution by saying, “Our discovery is only the first key step and more work needs to be done before it can be applied to humans.”
In other words, Hsu is cautioning the public not to consider the findings to be the first step towards any kind of miracle cure when it comes to hair loss. “We do not know the exact scope of its applications. Hair loss can have many complicated causes – there is still a lot to be learned.”
Dr. Hsu also noted that it is too early in the process to tell when any type of human hair loss treatment would be available. It is also too early to tell if the potential human hair loss treatment would be administered through an injection, tablet, or some other method.
Harvard Hair Loss Study – A Closer Look
In the study conducted by the research team at Harvard, the research staff looked at how corticosterone, which is a hormone in mice that is released during periods of chronic stress, works to regulate the activity of hair follicles found in mice.
The experiments conducted by the research team showed when the levels of corticosterone are elevated, the hair follicles will not regenerate and end up staying in an extended resting phase. The experiments also showed the fact that, when the hormone levels are depleted, the stem cells of the hair follicles are activated, and new hair begins to grow.
The research team also found that corticosterone works to inhibit the activation of the stem cells of hair follicles by suppressing the production of a protein known as GAS6. This protein has been shown to promote the rapid increase of the reproduction of hair follicle stem cells where there is an absence of corticosterone.
This medical discovery seems to suggest that the boosting of GAS6 levels can promote hair growth by helping to reduce or overcome the inhibition of hair follicle stem cells due to stress. It is also believed that the boosting of the GAS6 levels might lead to the growth of hair in cases where stress is not the primary factor in the loss of hair.
Dr. Hsu remarked, “Given the potential effect of GAS6 on promoting hair follicle stem cell activity, it would also be interesting to see if GAS6 might be helpful for promoting hair growth in general beyond stress in the future. Our research showed that GAS6 can promote hair growth independent of stress in mice, but we still need to learn more about its impact on human skin.”
While many experts in the field of hair loss and hair restoration agree that the results of the study are promising, they also caution that more work needs to be done before an actual “cure” for baldness can be made available to the public.
The Best Current Solution for Hair Loss
Until an actual cure for thinning or balding hair is available to the public, the best medical option to restore hair on the scalp is a hair transplant.
This medical hair loss solution is performed by moving hair grafts from one area on the body of the patient to the balding or thing area on the scalp. The donor hair is normally taken from the back and sides of the scalp as the hair in this area is resistant to hair loss.
The results of a hair transplant give the patient a fuller and more youthful head of hair that is also natural in appearance. The results last a lifetime and improve the confidence and self-image of a person.
Interested in learning more about how a hair transplant can transform the look of your hairline? Contact our office today to schedule a consultation appointment about your hair restoration options.