Baldness could be a thing of the past thanks to huge new medical breakthrough
For many men out there, going bald is one of the worst parts of getting older. Seriously, it sucks to be in your mid-twenties and start losing the volume and thickness of your hair. Maybe your pate looks like a cue-ball, or maybe your widow's peak is getting more and more extreme as time goes on - whatever. It's damn annoying. A few of my friends are already beginning to show signs of baldness, and to be honest, most of them aren't happy about it.
Typically, the best thing to do when you're slowly losing your hair is to just embrace is and shave your whole head completely. After all, going bald is a case of helplessness, but being bald is a choice on your part, and that gives you a measure of power over your appearance. Some people even manage to look far better bald than they ever did with hair, although that really depends on the shape of your skull.
However, all you guys who are nervously combing and slowly going bald can now happily rejoice: it seems that a new medical breakthrough could spell the end for male-pattern baldness, and allow us all to keep our luscious manes well into our old age. Doesn't that sound cool? I sure think so.
The big breakthrough comes courtesy of a group of researchers who hail from the New York School of Medicine, who managed to find a way to activate a pathway in the brain called 'The Sonic Hedgehog.' This has nothing to do with the Sega Megadrive game by the way - it's a part of the brain which is apparently extremely active while embryos are in the womb, and hair follicles are being formed. Unfortunately, the more a person ages, the more the Sonic Hedgehog is stalled, or sometimes stops working altogether. This leads to hair being unable to renew itself after being shed.
The researchers analysed the damaged skin if laboratory mice, and focused on cells called fibroblasts, which secrete collagen. Lead researcher Dr Mayumi Ito managed to activate the sonic hedgehog pathway, which provoked hair regrowth in the mice. After a mere four weeks, the scientists observed significant hair regrowth in the mice, and after nine weeks they saw hair roots and shaft structures reappear.
Discussing the breakthrough, Dr Ito stated: "Now we know it’s a signalling issue in cells that are very active as we develop in the womb, but less so in mature skin cells as we age. Our results show stimulating fibroblasts through the sonic hedgehog pathway can trigger hair growth not previously seen in wound healing."
So there you have it dudes: all we need to do is find a way to reactivate those collagen-producing cells, and suddenly your hair will begin to return to your heads. Any day now baldness could be going the way of smallpox, and be cured completely...