By the time you start going bald-or more bald-scientists may have found an actual pharmacological cure. As in, not a miracle gel or transplant. It turns out that not only does hair communicate with other hair in the same region of the body, it also communicates with hair in different areas of the body, according to a new study from the University of California, Irvine. For instance, if a man is bald on top of his head but not around the crown of his head, communication between those two areas has fallen silent. But if scientists can figure out how to reactivate signals between the two areas, "hair growth signals can then start spreading across the entire head skin, preventing regional baldness," study co-leader Maksim Plikus said.
Here's another way to think of it, per the UCI press release:
"In analogy with languages spoken in two neighboring countries, it was unclear how the back skin 'talks' with the belly skin to coordinate the tasks of growing hairs," Plikus said. "We showed that although different signaling 'dialects' may exist between belly and back skin, for instance, all hairs can understand one another through the use of similar 'words' and 'sentences.'"
So, if the science follows through (especially because the study was conducted on mice), drugs could potentially hack the communication system, promoting hair growth in anyplace you want it. The same holds true in reverse: You could hypothetically stop hair growth in places like the back or face where you don't want it. But this science is nothing more than a "roadmap," said Plikus, still in its preliminary stages. In the meantime, thinning hair isn't the end of the world.
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