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Baldness Cure A Step Closer: Scientists Regrow Hair In Mice

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Gone could be the days of toupees, combovers and hair plugs. For mice, at least.

Researchers at UCLA who set out to study a stress-blocking chemical compound have instead struck gold: a potential cure for baldness.

The scientists discovered bald mice who were treated with the compound for five days grew back full heads of hair in just three months, according to the study published Wednesday in PLoS One.

The likely giddy research team repeated the experiment several more times to confirm. Sure enough, the mice's hair grew back each time, and the compound also showed promise in preventing hair loss.

"This could open new venues to treat hair loss in humans through the modulation of the stress hormone receptors, particularly hair loss related to chronic stress and aging," Million Mulugeta, an adjunct professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, told Popular Science.

So how legit is this? Well, it's unknown whether the treatment could actually work for humans. But the researchers were hopeful enough to apply for a patent to use the compound for hair growth.

According to The New York Times, the reaction from the dermatology and hair loss community is mixed. The Times writes:

Dr. George Cotsarelis, chairman of the dermatology department at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, said any treatment developed from the research would probably be useful only for hair loss related to stress, likes that caused by one-time events, rather than as a treatment for genetic baldness.

Even if you're skeptical about this week's news, there's still cause to hope for a baldness cure. In December, German researchers (also studying mice) discovered stem cells could be used to regrow hair follicles. Again, it remains to be seen if the treatment is also effective in humans.

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