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Scientists Identify Best Hair Loss Treatments

By Paul A. Achoa Health & Fitness Expert


For years, researchers have presented all sorts of theories regarding hair loss causes, but until now, no one was completely sure why some people lost their hair, while others did not. Now, a surprising new study has linked male pattern hair loss to bad stem cells on the scalp. Researchers laud the news as an important first step toward developing new hair loss treatments, and many predict that within just a few years, balding will be a thing of the past.

What causes hair loss?

According to a study posted in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, failing scalp stem cells are the primary cause of male pattern hair loss. The research team, led by dermatologist Dr. George Cotsarelis of University of Pennsylvania, expected to find fewer hair-growing stem cells in subjects affected by hair loss. Instead, they found the same number as those subjects who enjoy a full head of hair.

Initially, the researchers guessed that balding resulted from a lack of stem cells. Now, they believe the problem isn't quantity but quality. This new study suggests that balding patients tend to have a problem with stem-cell activation, where the follicles shrink but remain present. Over time, as the follicles shrink, the hairs become microscopic, and balding occurs.

In the past, theories regarding hair loss causes relied on the concept that, once gone, hair would not return; however, according to Dr. Cotsarelis, because the stem cells on balding scalps are only dormant, they could be reawakened regardless of how long the patient has been bald.

According to Dr. Cotsarelis, the existence of stem cells on a bald scalp provides strong hope for spurring hair growth in bald and balding men. Dr. Cotsarelis predicted that within the next ten years, the best hair loss treatments will be those that aim to reactivate failing stem cells. Until then, patients will have to rely on tried-and-true hair-growing treatments, such as Rogaine, Propecia and some over-the-counter natural products.

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