26 November 1998

Hair Raising Success In Chicago

A group of scientists from the Hughes Institute at the University of Chicago have reported success in inducing the formation of follicles on the skins of adult mice.

Follicles are the skin formations from which hairs grow. Unfortunately for man follicles only grow once in a lifetime - at the embryo stages of development. So those unlucky enough to suffer from dying follicles go bald and have no chance of regenerating a head of hair.

Elaine Fuchs at the Hughes Institute believes that a natural chemical produced in the body, called beta-catenin may be the messenger which instructs embryonic cells to become hair follicles. She and her colleagues have found that the same chemical can induce the formation of hair follicles in adult mice. The mice, the team report are "exceptionally hairy".

About 40% or European and American men over the age of 35 lose their hair. Now there is hope.