Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hair raising tales

Going bald upsets a lot of people, mostly men. Everyone looses hair as they get older, but some men in particular loose most if not all of it in what is called male pattern baldness.

Male pattern baldness is the number one reason (when I looked a few years ago) that men are having cosmetic surgery in America. These days a hair transplant doesn't leave you a head like a cheaply woven Chinese doll. No more giant plugs of hair in little plantations, hair is transplanted in tiny, naturally occurring little groups. It is, naturally, very costly. But it works. Hair moved from the back of the head doesn't wilt and die like the stuff that lived on the top. The only problem is that for many men, they simply do not have enough hair at the back of their heads to replace what has been lost at the front and top.

But, you've guessed it, science comes leaping into the room to offer a solution. Intercytex, a Manchester-based company thinks it can create new hair, something described in this week's article in The Economist. Don't get too excited. For whatever reason, the UK authorities have decided that Intercytex's technology is a drug treatment and it must therefore go through trials from phases I to III (it is up to II at the moment). So it will take up to five years before anything appears on the market. But it does offer hope, at last, to the world's baldies.

Regenerative medicine
Hair today, hair tomorrow. A cure for baldness Jun 5th 2008