baldPeople having a tough time in office or at home because of hair loss may soon find an end to their daily misery — scientists may soon be able to grow new hair on balding scalps, avoiding the need for a hair transplant. Researchers have succeeded in creating new human hair in the laboratory using tiny cells that fuel its growth, Daily Mail reported. The methodology has been used to grow new hair follicles in animals, and is now being tested on humans.

The tiny cells, called dermal papillae, are found at the base of the follicles, below the skin where the hair is anchored. They provide nourishment for the follicles. In the new method, the cells, taken from donor tissue, are first cultured in the lab before being injected into the skin where hair are needed.The main type of hair loss in both men and women is androgenetic alopecia, also known as male or female-pattern hair loss.

The first human study is underway in Taiwan with around 400 men and women. Patients, undergoing cosmetic surgery at the National Taiwan University Hospital, are providing samples of dermal papillae cells (tiny cells) from their scalps. These will then be cultured in the lab and implanted into bald patients.  (Read: Wrong hairstyles could leave you bald!)

The idea is that this will lead to the growth of new follicles for the first time, rather than transplanting existing hair from one place to another. The methodology could be suitable for people with a limited number of follicles (a mammalian skin organ that produces hair), including those with female-pattern hair loss, scarring alopecia (condition in which hair are lost from some or all areas of the body, usually from the scalp) and hair loss due to burns. (Read: New breakthrough could help bald people grow hair)

Male-pattern baldness, which affects around 6.5 million men, usually begins above the temples and can occur at any age; the receding hairline eventually forms a characteristic ‘M’ shape. The hair at the top of the head also thins, progressing to baldness. Around a third of women also experience hair loss, with many affected by female-pattern hair loss. (Read: Why are young men going bald?)

ale pattern baldness is the most common cause of baldness seen in men. Triggered primarily due to the male hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone), this can begin in some males as early as in their teens or twenties.

The condition is characterized by a typical pattern of receding hairline at the temples and hair thinning on the crown. It can progress to partial or complete baldness in some cases. This is the cause of hair loss in about 90% of men and more than one third of men are in their thirties. The percentage of men affected by MPB increases with advancing age.

How to identify Male pattern baldness?

  • Excessive loss of hair
  • Hairline recedes from the front, temples
  • Thinning of hair on the crown
  • Bald patch on the top of the scalp
  • Partial baldness
  • Complete baldness at a later stage

How does it happen?

The male hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is important for the normal male sexual development. However, in some cases, the hair follicles are genetically sensitive to this hormone and exposure to it results in shrinkage of the follicles. This shortens the lifespan of the follicles and prevents them from producing hair normally. Hair follicles in the temples and crown of the scalp are more sensitive to this hormone and hence hair loss affects these areas more prominently.

With inputs from IANS

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