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Science

Accidental Find May Lead To a Cure For Baldness 404

Posted by Soulskill
from the make-it-so dept.
kkleiner writes "Science is full of stories in which great discoveries are made by accident: the discovery of radiation, the discovery of the universe's shape through x-ray detection, and now perhaps the cure for hair loss. At the time they returned to the cages to find that their bald mice had miraculously grown their hair back, the scientists at UCLA had no intention of curing baldness. Originally, theirs was in fact a study aimed at reducing the harmful affects of chronic stress. The unanticipated side effect of their treatment could prove a boon to balding men and women everywhere, not to mention to the drug company that delivers the cure to them."
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Accidental Find May Lead To a Cure For Baldness

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  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Monday April 04, 2011 @03:52PM (#35713268)
    PETA will have a field day with this one, what with causing artificial stress in the mice to the point where they start losing hair? Think of their self esteem, think of premature heart attacks and strokes...
    • by syousef (465911)

      PETA will have a field day with this one, what with causing artificial stress in the mice to the point where they start losing hair? Think of their self esteem, think of premature heart attacks and strokes...

      ...and it was enough to turn Britney spears from an innocent mousekateer into a crazy wild tart.

    • by ackthpt (218170) on Monday April 04, 2011 @04:51PM (#35714210) Homepage Journal

      PETA will have a field day with this one, what with causing artificial stress in the mice to the point where they start losing hair? Think of their self esteem, think of premature heart attacks and strokes...

      The trauma to female mice .. when they see these bald mice returning to the general population with great big pompadours and new-found confidence, "Hey, Baby, come over to my corner of the cage tonight and we'll split some cheese."

      • Hey, Baby, come over to my corner of the cage tonight and we'll split some cheese.

        Eeeeeeeeeeeeew! Oh, wait, I read "cut" instead of "split".

    • by jrumney (197329)
      PETA should be made to understand that a cure for baldness is worth sacrificing a few mice for. It's right up there with curing erectile dysfunction in the importance stakes. If the researchers had been researching something as mundane as a cure for cancer, or heart disease, then those PETA guys might have a point.
      • by dwye (1127395)

        PETA should be made to understand that a cure for baldness is worth sacrificing a few mice for.

        No, it is not.

        That is why medical experimentation should be done on PETA members, only. Besides, they are much closer to humans, in the genetic sense.

        OK, occasionally one can use lawyers, too, if there aren't enough PETA members available.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday April 04, 2011 @03:53PM (#35713272)

    This treatment works by restricting a hormone that helps regulate our stress levels. Isn't it maybe a bad idea to go fucking around with that just because we want a full head of hair?

    Just a thought.

    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday April 04, 2011 @03:56PM (#35713314) Homepage
      Meh, million of women mess around with their hormones every month just as a method of birth control, even though much more successful methods exist, and even though many (non-manogamous) should probably be using other methods anyway to protect against diseases. Most people have no problem with stuffing their body full of chemicals, especially when it's prescribe by a "doctor" or in a tasty meal.
      • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Monday April 04, 2011 @04:05PM (#35713444)

        Not to mention athletes, body builders, and people like myself who get to adjust male hormones, if you do it with the right chemicals in the right doses, farking around with hormones isn't a problem.

        Before I got my current treatment regimen going, I was at 39 ng/dl when normal total testosterone levels range from 300 - 1000 ng/dl

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypogonadism [wikipedia.org]

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jaktar (975138)

        Meh, million of women mess around with their hormones every month just as a method of birth control, even though much more successful methods exist, and even though many

        • (non-manogamous)

        should probably be using other methods anyway to protect against diseases. Most people have no problem with stuffing their body full of chemicals, especially when it's prescribe by a "doctor" or in a tasty meal.

        That should be non-manogamouse!

    • by ShavedOrangutan (1930630) on Monday April 04, 2011 @04:12PM (#35713572)
      The current treatment (Propecia) restricts testosterone. I tried that and it completely eliminated my sex drive. After 8 months, I stopped, but I swear my drive never come back 100% and my hair fell out anyways. So yeah, going bald sucks but messing with your hormones is much worse.
      • by hedwards (940851) on Monday April 04, 2011 @04:30PM (#35713866)

        Unfortunately, it's might not be your imagination. Hair loss drug linked to less libido, ED [upi.com] To be honest, that possibility wasn't even on my list of things to consider when I opted not to treat my baldness.

        • by PCM2 (4486) on Monday April 04, 2011 @04:45PM (#35714082) Homepage

          Many women report the same from contraceptive pills. They can't get pregnant; the irony is that once they start the pills, they have no interest in sex. There are many different types of pills, and it's possible that women who find their libido affected by one kind can find another that doesn't affect it, but working your way through the options can be a laborious process -- and since you don't have any real desire for sex anyway, it doesn't seem like much of a priority (at least, not until you look back on the last year and think, "wait a minute...").

      • by StikyPad (445176)

        The current treatment (Propecia) restricts testosterone. I tried that and it completely eliminated my sex drive.

        I guess that explains women.

      • by yabos (719499)
        Actually it's blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT, dihydrotestosterone, through blocking of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, but pretty close. DHT is a major factor in libido(as is healthy estrogen levels even in men btw)
    • Insightful?! Clearly there are some mods today that aren't balding yet. :P

      Every problem seems trivial until it's your problem.

    • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Monday April 04, 2011 @04:17PM (#35713652)

      Err, stress literally kills. The hormones it produces are toxic. A significant amount of people are stressed all the time and its only made worse by the 24/7 society.

      Unlike our hunter-gatherer ancestors, we aren't sitting in the sun all day. We're not getting a short high stress event (killing an animal) and then relaxing the rest of the day. We're not getting this level of downtime anymore and chronic stress is common. Heck, Americans barely get vacation days.

      Your society, your city, your processed food, your vitamin enriched food, the vaccines in your blood, etc are all technology that has nothing to do with how evolution shaped us for so long. Of course, we should be addressing stress, the same way we address horrible urban conditions with germ theory, cleaning, better sewage, soaps, and antibiotics.

      Its a luddite position to think that your body and mind are well suited for modern living and anything controlling that is "unnatural." Its a luddite who says we shouldnt be playing with this. This pandora's box was opened long ago. Appeals to "the natural man" are a fallacy for this reason.

      Adding relaxation techniques into your life can make such a significant change its not even funny. Its incredible how much stress we take for granted. Its not normal, its not healthy, and it is a problem. I'm very excited by this research. I hate the idea that its 100% socially acceptable to be a caffeine addict workaholic, but once we start talking about relaxation, downtime, stress, etc suddenly we're all so careful!

      • by lennier (44736)

        Its a luddite position to think that your body and mind are well suited for modern living

        Indeed. Ned Ludd [wikipedia.org] was a big fan of Fred Taylor [wikipedia.org]. The two of them often went out for drinks together, in between rounds of machine-smashing and systematising the workforce.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday April 04, 2011 @04:47PM (#35714112) Homepage Journal

        I hate the idea that its 100% socially acceptable to be a caffeine addict workaholic, but once we start talking about relaxation, downtime, stress, etc suddenly we're all so careful!

        Caffeine addict workaholics make soft-drink manufacturers, Starbucks and CEO's very rich.

        The only one that gets rich when you learn tai chi or some other stress reduction technique is you. And it's not the kind of "rich" that our society generally recognizes.

      • by Malc (1751) on Monday April 04, 2011 @05:27PM (#35714666)

        Our predecessors had an average life expectancy approaching 80 years did they? That's right: if I keel over with a stress induced heart attack or stroke at 40 years old, I've still lived longer than the stress free peoples you're talking about. What's your point?

        • by jrumney (197329)
          Infant mortality has a big effect on average life expectancy. The life expectancy of grown adults has not changed as much as it appears from the statistics.
      • by sznupi (719324)
        1) We don't use the germ theory (and related) very well (do a quick search for MRSA Norway), likewise with cleaning and hygiene (going overboard with this one again probably contributing to some illnesses) or antibiotic over-prescription (people demanding - and getting - antibiotics for flu, WTF?! The way we're headed, antibiotics will become useless and we'll be pretty much back to early XX century). And better don't mention eating habits...

        We're doing many things wrong, it would be good to try to NOT
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Once you are bald, you will rethink that idea.

    • Human stress response evolved in a very different environment; there's a reasonable argument to be made that it isn't just useless but harmful these days. This may give you back your hair and make you healthier. We won't know till we try.

  • by penguin_dance (536599) on Monday April 04, 2011 @03:56PM (#35713300)

    The bad news it makes your dick shrink.

  • by sumdumass (711423) on Monday April 04, 2011 @03:56PM (#35713308) Journal

    Now, who wants to bet that a major food company who also owns a razor manufacturing plant will by the rights to this drug, pay off the government and convince them to label it an herbal food supplement, rename it something that sounds like it will cure cancer, then put small amounts into the food stuff they see.

    Of course I didn't read the article. But hey, I've seen less believable conspiracies based on less facts flourish so don't blame me for trying my own 100 mile per gallon carburetor.

  • Just to poke my anti-socialist friends with a stick, I find it interesting that a publicly funded institute happened apon this discovery and not a private corporation.

    Then again, if it is a "cure" then there is no capitalist drive for it to see the light of day when "treatments" that require continual purchase are available.

    -Rick

    • by damburger (981828) on Monday April 04, 2011 @04:05PM (#35713458)
      Playing devils advocate, public funded research could be consider an integral part of a capitalist society, and something capitalists support?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by roc97007 (608802)

      > Just to poke my anti-socialist friends with a stick, I find it interesting that a publicly funded institute happened apon this discovery and not a private corporation.

      ...Bound to happen eventually...

    • by operagost (62405)

      Just to poke my anti-socialist friends with a stick, I find it interesting that a publicly funded institute happened apon this discovery and not a private corporation.

      There's nothing about this that indicates it could not have been achieved with private funds. Besides, the objective was to reduce stress, which is a lot more in the interest of the general welfare than most of what is publicly funded right now. It's also not a cure; its effects last for four months after the last dose, which is just a lot

    • by Jason Earl (1894)

      This is barely a discovery. The researchers have apparently found a temporary cure for hair loss in mice that were genetically modified to secrete abnormally high levels of corticotropin-releasing factor. It is a big leap to go from there to a cure for baldness in humans.

  • Three months later they returned to the cages

    Misleading title. Should be "Scientists accidentally discover a way around that pesky eating requirement."

  • One day... (Score:4, Funny)

    by damburger (981828) on Monday April 04, 2011 @04:01PM (#35713408)

    ...there will be a simple, over-the-counter cure for baldness.

    And then, on the following day, a drunk college student will pass out and have the formula smeared all over his face by his almost equally drunk 'friends'

    • by vlm (69642)

      And then, on the following day, a drunk college student will pass out and have the formula smeared all over his face by his almost equally drunk 'friends'

      Do people already do stuff like this with current solutions like rogain / minidoxal / whatever? One thought I had once was it is odd that people like body mods like surgery and piercing and hair dye and fooling around trimming and painting their nails, not to forget having their skin all permanently inked up, but even on the weirdest darkest corners of the internet I've never heard about people doing "alternative hair growth". You know those guys at the pro football games who take their shirts off so the

  • Problems (Score:2, Interesting)

    by vlm (69642)

    There are some problems:

    Mice are covered with hair. I envision getting an injection and suddenly sprouting hair ... freaking everywhere. Also what happens if my eyebrows and nose hair are out of control already, and now I turbocharge them? And my back hair that already keeps me warm in the winter?

    This is reported on a website that also reports the following "NEW" stories:
    1) Scare story about web traffic monitoring (around since the 90s)
    2) designer babies are coming (since the 40s or so, at least since t

    • by lennier (44736)

      I envision getting an injection and suddenly sprouting hair ... freaking everywhere.

      It's not the hair.

      It's the tail.

    • This is a link [sciencedaily.com] to the same research with pictures that address your concerns.
  • Man! Maybe now we'll find out what color Bruce Willis' hair is.

  • Missing info... (Score:5, Informative)

    by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <marc.paradise@gma i l . c om> on Monday April 04, 2011 @04:11PM (#35713566) Homepage Journal
    This has nothing to do with male pattern baldness despite the grand title. It only allows showed the hair loss specifically related to stress to be reversed -- which actually can also happen on its own if you remove the stressor(s) that are causing it to occur.

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-and-hair-loss/AN01442 [mayoclinic.com]

    • by Wraithlyn (133796)

      The article does state this quite clearly.

      "The findings in the current study are limited in their application as this study models hair loss related to stress and thus may not be relevant to hair loss brought on by factors other than stress."

  • Now we just need something to make our dicks long and hard. Then the cycle of Idiocracy will have completed.
  • Lots of funny/stupid comments on here... but as someone thats losing his hair let me be the first to say "WOOOOOOOTTTTT!!!!!!!!"
  • No drug company will provide a cure unless they're forced to, there is far more profit in providing temporary relief from the symptoms so that the patient has to keep buying your drugs indefinitely.

  • This potential baldness cure is right up there with the attempt to control blood pressure and the subsequent discovery of VIAGRA. [wikipedia.org] Let's cure a deadly disease turns into let's make Meeellions!!

  • Chronic stress grows hair for mice. For men they tear their hair out in tufts and become bald. That shows when you are the masters of the universe you control everything for your personal benefit.
  • by hellfire (86129) <(deviladv) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday April 04, 2011 @04:35PM (#35713922) Homepage

    Kirk got a hairpiece stapled to his scalp... and he had no problems getting women.
    Picard was proud to be bald... and didn't seem to have problem getting women.
    Sisko shaved his head! He was married twice!

    This is not news for nerds. If nerds know anything, it's not what's on top of their head, but what's in the captain's chair that counts.

  • by geckoFeet (139137) <gecko@dustyfeet.com> on Monday April 04, 2011 @04:46PM (#35714106)

    Animal body hair human head hair. Animal body hair is analogous to human body hair, not human head hair. As we all know, when human males age, head hair tends to go, but body hair tends to sprout, especially out of the most repulsive places possible, such as the ears and the nose. There may be some kind of conservation of hair principle here. The obvious Darwinian explanation would be to prevent older men from breeding, although I'm not sure why.

    On the whole, reptiles seems rather more sensible.

    • by geckoFeet (139137)

      Stupid symbol filter. First sentence should read:
      Animal body hair IS NOT human head hair.

  • . . . enlargement pills that work.

    Not that I would need or want any . . .

  • So I go from the light gray text on gray background at Slashdot to the mouse article which is another site with light gray text. My eyes are not happy and now I can't tell if I have hair or not!
    • by cvtan (752695)
      Sorry to reply to myself, but I got a response back from Singularity Hub about their choice of gray text:

      >>Charlie, Thank you for venting! We really want to hear suggestions so we can improve. We will take your suggestion seriously and we might change the color soon. thanks, Keith

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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