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Scientists Accidently Find Potential Cure For Balding

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Scientists Accidently Find Potential Cure For Balding

Scientists cure baldness in mice, but can they migrate the treatment to treat human balding?

A team of researchers from the Veterans Administration and the University of California at Los Angeles has accidently stumbled upon a potential cure for baldness.

The team’s original study had been to research how the gastrointestinal tract of mice would be affected by altering stress levels. The scientists developed a peptide known as “astressin-B”, which blocks the action of the stress hormone CRF, and administered the peptide by injection.

The first round had no effect, so the team administered more injections over the course of 5 days. This caused the mice to lose their hair, but the scientist didn’t care about that, they were just interested in analyzing the bowels of mice following the injections. With the initial research complete, the team left the mice for three months until they returned to carry out follow-up tests.

scientists cure bald mice Scientists Accidently Find Potential Cure For Balding

Scientist Accidentally Cure Balding In Mice

Image Credit: Discover Mag, 2011.

When team member Dr. Million Mulugeta, co-director of the preclinical stress biology program at U.C.L.A., looked inside the cage, he wondered why the bald mice weren’t there. At first the team thought the cages may have been switched, but a quick look at their notes revealed something very different, the mice had in fact gown hair. The team then replicated the experiment a number of times to corroborate their findings, and each time, all the mice were able to re-grow their hair within a couple of weeks.

Unfortunately experts say that the findings will not lead to cure for genetic balding, which is the main cause of hair loss. However it is hoped that the findings could be applied to the possible development of a treatment for balding due to chronic stress and aging.

Experts say that much more research must be done before the mechanism behind hair re-growth can be understood. George Cotsarelis, a dermatologist at the University of Pennsylvania, also warned that because human hair has a very different growth cycle to mice hair, migrating such treatment to cure human balding may not be an easy task. But, if the findings do open a new avenue with which to pursue the cure to human balding, the peptide may also provide an extra bonus; it seems to protect the pigment in the hair which could also eliminate gray hairs.

The research was just published in the journal PLoS One.


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