I'll be honest. Every now and then, after a quick glimpse at the mirror, I imagine how different my life would be if I was forced to go bald because of my own genetics. After a quick mortified expression, I carry on with my day—personally, a "shaved" head wouldn't really be my style. While many others do embrace a bald head, there are a few men in the 3 million new cases of hair loss every year that do not.
For these individuals, there may be a solution growing from the far west: Japan.
RIKEN, Japan's largest research organization, is working with two companies to find a solution to hair loss with the regenerative medical tool of the century, stem cells. Stem cell cultivation will be utilized in follicular regeneration.
To break this down a little, we are all born with a limited number of hair follicles that continuously produce hair on our scalp over our lifetimes. With those who are affected by androgenic alopecia (pattern baldness), the hormones necessary to nourish these follicles into growing hair do not function properly or the follicles themselves are damaged, leading to the shedding of hair without restoration. The method utilized by RIKEN team will work around this problem by cultivating stem cells around active follicles and increasing them in magnitude.
Learn more in the video below:
So what's the big deal?
You probably have heard of hair transplants and other baldness treatments and are scratching your head thinking, "what makes follicular regeneration so important?"
While there are other methods, follicular regeneration would provide a permanent fix by restoring growth and preventing excessive shedding.
Unfortunately, this technology is some years away from being hair (haha?) just yet!