Time and time again, we’re asked by patients if we can ‘cure’ their baldness. The simple answer is, of course, no. While we can advise on treatments to encourage hair regrowth, slow down the hair loss process and perform hair transplant surgery, scientists are yet to find a definitive solution to make baldness a thing of the past.
However, a group of Japanese researchers sent the media into overdrive last week when they issued their claim that a chemical used in McDonald’s chips could in fact hold the key to solving hair loss.
Using dimethylpolysiloxane – the substance used by the fast food chain – and human stem cells, the scientists generated fresh hair follicles in mice, leaving them with super furry scalps and backs.
They’ve managed to create hair follicle germs (HFGs), fuelling hair follicle development. Interestingly however, the key to mass producing these cells appears to be bringing in the dimethylpolysiloxane in the culture vessel in which the HFGs were being created.
Hair regenerative medicine is a new – and extremely exciting – area of hair restoration, so it’s certainly an important piece of research that could pave the way for potential human treatment.
However, this is just one small piece of a very big jigsaw when it comes to treating hair loss. For instance, there have been many studies over the years that have seemingly held the answer to the problem but have failed to translate from mice to people!
While we shouldn’t assume that baldness will be gone from our lives because of this study, it certainly puts hair loss in the spotlight and will hopefully be a springboard for further research – it’s certainly not an excuse to hit your local drive-thru en masse, that’s for sure!
Listen to Dr Bessam Farjo’s thoughts on the matter during an on-air interview with Talk Radio. Scroll through to the 15:23 time slot
Find out more about the treatments, including non-surgical options, currently available for hair loss.