Relief for men with thinning hair may come not from questionable medications or late-night hair club commercials, but from an odd-looking hairless mouse. Japanese scientists recently grew fully functional hair follicles on the bald rodent, but say the technique could someday be applied to humans. Using stem cells from mice, researchers were able to create hair follicles which could not only grow hair, but also became rooted in the scalp, forming connections with the surrounding tissues. After three weeks, 74 percent of the follicles had grown hair. The researchers successfully repeated the procedure on the mouse using human stem cells obtained from a bald man. Hair loss is not a life-threatening condition, but it can cause emotional distress, loss of self-confidence and sometimes depression. Eighty-five percent of men will have significant hair loss by age 50. While the technique won’t prevent baldness from occurring, it may one day allow men to regrow their hair so they no longer have to look like a wrinkled, bald mouse. Unless, of course, that’s the look they’re going for.
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