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Scientists Discover The Root of Baldness and Grey Hair

We’re reminded most days that we’re truly living in the future, and this week’s scientific discovery has a direct impact on the future of hair.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre researchers have discovered cells in mice that turn hair grey and cause hair loss, publishing their findings in the Genes & Development journal. The scientists discovered the information by accident while studying a rare genetic disease that causes tumours.

“Although this project was started in an effort to understand how certain kinds of tumours form, we ended up learning why hair turns grey and discovering the identity of the cell that directly gives rise to hair,” lead researcher Dr. Lu Le, associate professor of dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, said.

“With this knowledge, we hope in the future to create a topical compound or to safely deliver the necessary gene to hair follicles to correct these cosmetic problems.”

The research conducted discovered that the KROX20 protein switches on skin cells that become a hair shaft, which then causes cells to produce another protein called stem cell factor. Both proteins proved important factors in grey hair and baldness in the mice. When scientists deleted the cells that produce KROX20, mice stopped growing hair and went bald, moreover when they removed the stem cell factor protein, their hair turned white.

The researchers’ next step is to investigate this further in humans and, from there, attempt to find a soloution to these hair problems. We’re sure the answer could alter hair treatments, products and processes forever.

The more you know.

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