Men fear going bald – it’s a universal, shared worry that never goes away. It never goes away because people keep going bald, adding fuel to the flaming bonfire of dead hair that continuously burns inside every man’s head.
BUT NOT ANYMORE.
Basically, scientists have discovered what causes balding. By accident. They were doing some experiments on mice (who also fear going bald), researching what effect a certain anti-inflammatory immune cell called a Treg had on overall skin health.
They shaved the mice to observe the skin, removed the Tregs and then looked ar the results. But a way more interesting and important thing happened – the mice’s hair didn’t grow back. So obviously all the bald scientists got excited and immediately scrapped the whole “skin health” experiment to instead look for a cure for baldness.
Professor Michael Rosenblum, an immunologist and dermatologist at University of California San Francisco, said: “Our hair follicles are constantly recycling. When a hair falls out, the whole hair follicle has to grow back.
“This has been thought to be an entirely stem cell-dependent process, but it turns out Tregs are essential.
“If you knock out this one immune cell type, hair just doesn't grow.
“It’s as if the skin stem cells and Tregs have co-evolved, so that the Tregs not only guard the stem cells against inflammation but also take part in their regenerative work.
“The stem cells rely on the Tregs completely to know when it's time to start regenerating.”
Of course, you probably stopped reading halfway through that nerd-talk, so let me boil it down: hair needs Tregs to grow.
He reckons that damaged or irregular Tregs might be what causes alopecia and other types of baldness.
So, I’m confident a cure is round the corner, basically – they know what causes it, now all they’ve got to do is reverse it. Easy – these science-bods are pretty clever, I bet they got a B in their Biology GCSE and everything.
If you want to find more about Tregs (pronounced Tee-regs, btw), then read on here, then glance down at your keyboard, notice a stray hair, and panic.