A new study published in the journal Biomaterials described how researchers at the Yokohama National University in Japan have found a new way to grow hair follicle germs. Will the findings help to cure baldness forever?
An Effective Way to Grow Hair Follicle Germs
The study, led by Junji Fukada, was focused on growing hair follicle germs (HFGs). HFGs are tiny organs that hair follicles develop from. The scientists used an oxygen-permeable silicone as a substrate to place two types of cells on. They grew 5,000 HFGs in three days. When implanted into mice, the HFGs were proven capable of producing normal hair that followed natural hair growth cycles.
A Step Closer to a Baldness Cure
The Japanese scientists have been successful in creating a far greater number of HFGs than other previous attempts have achieved. With 5,000 HFGs ready in such a short time, there is potential that the findings could be used to improve hair restoration treatments. Being able to use hair grown in a laboratory would be especially helpful in treating those who have too little donor hair to complete a hair transplant. However, Fukada said that it will be at least 5 years before they reach the stage of human testing and even longer before a hair loss treatment would be available.
Can McDonald’s French Fries Cure Hair Loss?
After the study was published in February 2018, many media reports picked up on an interesting fact about the silicone used in the study. Dimethylpolysiloxane is used in many products that we may encounter in daily life, from adhesives and cosmetics to the oil that McDonald’s French fries are cooked in. This information led to a flurry of online discussions debating whether chowing down on the snack food would stop hair loss in its tracks. Fukada was quoted in an article by The Japan News as saying “I’d feel bad if people think eating something would do that!” and was described as being baffled by the misleading interpretations of the research.
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