Balding Men May Get Help from Stem Cell, Gene Discoveries

Two studies released by the journal Nature Genetics could help explain why people lose their hair and how they could probably eventually grow it back. The discovery of genes that puts people at a risk of baldness and a stem cell that could replenish hair follicles is potentially exciting for those facing hair loss problems.

One of four Caucasian men are affected by hair loss prior to turning thirty. Drugs such as Rogaine and Propecia aid hair regrowth and sometimes even prevent hair loss, but its success rate is uniform. With the two new studies released, treatments targeting DNA responsible for hair loss holds more promise.

Tim Spector, a researcher in Kings College London’s department of twin research and genetic epidemiology said, “Early prediction before hair loss starts may lead to some interesting therapies that are more effective than treating late-stage hair loss.”
The genes of 578 men in Switzerland with early-onset hair loss were analyzed and compared against 547 others who had no hair-loss problems. These findings were then confirmed against groups from the UK, Iceland and Netherlands, totalling the study of those analyzed to 5,000.

The journal stated that those with hair loss commonly shared the same variations of two genes that increased the likelihood of them suffering from baldness sevenfold.

While the research does point at the genes responsible for hair loss, further in-depth study is necessary to prove the connection between the two. The same genetic variations were also found in women, although nothing statistically significant could be proven, again, calling for further study into the matter.