A cure for age-related hair loss may be planned, scientists say in a new medical breakthrough.
Scientists believe they have found out how to reverse the process of gradual deepening of hair by successfully increasing hair on wounded skin.
Scientists at the New York Medical Faculty have activated a path in the brain called sonic hedgehog.
This pathway is very active as children are in the womb and form hair follicles, but they are stabilized in aging or wounded skin.
Scientists believe they have found out how to reverse the process of gradual hair deepening by successfully increasing hair on injured skin
Numbers indicate that about a quarter of men begin to be bald until they turn to 25 years.
Women may also suffer from 40% of women who have a visible hair loss when they are 40 years old, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
The study examined damaged skin in laboratory mice, focused on cells called fibroblasts that excrete collagen.
Collagen is the protein most responsible for maintaining the shape and strength of the skin and hair.
Researchers have also focused on fibroblasts because cells are known to help direct some of the biological processes associated with healing.
Team led by Dr. Mayumi Ito, activated the signal path of sonic hedgehog used by cells to communicate with each other.
By causing communication between these cells, hair changes were observed in the mice within four weeks.
After nine weeks, hair roots and shaft structures appeared, according to a study published in Nature Communications.
Scientists have yet to assume that scars and collagen formation in damaged skin are behind its inability to return hair. This evidence, however, brings new light.
What are the causes of hair loss?
Hair loss is common, with approximately 25% of men becoming bald at the time they turn 25, according to the American Hair Loss Association.
It is estimated that eight million women in the UK are currently suffering from hair loss, according to a study by 2000 women cosmetic giant L Oreal.
The most common type of hair loss can be caused by life-changing events such as home migration, death or pregnancy, resulting in total hair thinning.
Yo-yo diets, contraceptive pills, stress, eating disorders, drugs in water and modern pesticides in food are also associated with hair loss.
For most of them, hair loss is temporary and can be helped.
Nutritionists could say that if nutrient levels are low, they will manifest through hair. Follicle hair rooted in the scalp must be surrounded by a rich supply of blood to ensure that it is adequately nourished.
Dermatologists suggest that poor diet usually causes iron deficiency as well as avoiding red meat. Vegetarians or vegans who have low vitamin B12 and zinc content may be prone to hair loss.
Research shows that hair loss is also associated with progestogens – the synthetic form of progesterone that has appeared in pill and hormone replacement therapy.
Dr. Ito said: "Now we know that this is a signaling problem in cells that are very active as we develop in the uterus, but less in adult skin cells as we are older
"Our results show that stimulation of fibroblasts by sonic hedgehog can cause hair growth that has not previously been seen in wound healing."
Increasing hair on damaged skin is an inappropriate need in medicine, says Dr. Ito, due to the devastation of thousands of trauma, burns and other injuries.
Not only is it in advance for injured skin, but the evidence is promising to improve hair growth in mature skin, she added.
It can help in finding better medicines that will restore hair growth.
Other experiments that turned on the sonic hedge path revealed a higher risk of tumors.
To avoid these risks, only fibroblasts located just beneath the surface of the skin where the root follicle roots (dermal papillae) first appeared.
With successful results, Dr. Ito said that this barrier could be overcome, bringing science closer to the real recovery of the skin after an accident.
The goal of doctors is to identify likely drug targets for hair restoration. Currently, licensed drugs may have undesirable side effects.
Minoxidil, foam or lotion, which is used in addition, causes an increase in blood flow to the scalp by nourishing hair follicles.
It helps about two-thirds of patients, men and women – but it can have side effects ranging from rapid heart rhythm to foot swelling and stomach pain.
Finasteride is only available on prescription for men. It works by blocking the enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), another form of hormone that causes baldness.
Research shows that finasteride causes hair growth in up to 80% of men, but one of 60 is impotence – and the risk is prolonged if you are on the drug.