WASHINGTON, December 9, 2013 — When Samson fell asleep in Delilah’s lap, she signaled her servant to cut off locks of Samson’s hair, taking away his legendary God given super strength. This allowed the Philistines to overwhelm him, gouge his eyes out and send him to prison.
In today’s world, Sampson could catch a flight to Philadelphia, re-grow his hair and again set about killing lions and defeating entire armies with a jaw bone as his only weapon.
Men are obsessed with their mane and live in fear of male pattern baldness.
The shaved-head look that set actor Yul Brenner apart some 40 years ago is now commonplace as men seek alternatives to obvious balding. However, seeking to evade the elf look, men typically grow on the bottom of their head what they cannot grow on top and the landscape is now peppered with shaved-headed men accented by goatees and mustaches.
Those who refuse to shear off their remaining locks long for the days of the Fedora but settle for today’s contemporary baseball cap. Many who refuse to do either can try to restore their hair with medications such as Rogaine and Propecia or opt for hair transplants, full-over wigs or weaves. The good news is all this may become ancient tales in the history of bald man cover-up.
A news release from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine claims researchers may have discovered the reason for male pattern baldness and, more importantly, can reverse it. This discovery includes the ability to eliminate unwanted hair and reduce or possibly eliminate some skin cancers.
As published in “Cell Stem Cell” and reviewed by Laura Marin, M.D. for Men’s Health in WebMD.com, a research team comprised researchers from several medical disciplines has determined “A pathway known for its role in regulating adult stem cells has been shown to be important for hair follicle proliferation but contrary to previous studies, is not required within hair follicle stems cells for their survival.” This means molecular pathways can be activated to prompt hair growth and eliminate unwanted hair.
Male pattern baldness affects 80 percent of males under the age of 70 and occurs when hair follicles shrink then grows tiny hairs that only last a short time. After this, not much happens at all.
According to the research, bald men have an abnormal amount of a protein called D2 on their scalps and blocks hair growth.
Drugs that inhibit the growth of D2 can delay male pattern baldness and restore hair growth “in all men that have male pattern baldness” says George Cotsarelis, M.D. This should work for women as well.
Similar compounds are already being developed for reasons other than baldness but ‘it shouldn’t take too long” says Cotsarellis to find those that work to reverse baldness.
Jeffery Epstein, M.D., director of the Foundation for Hair Restoration in Miami and New York City, asks “Is this promising? Of course. Anything that can treat male pattern hair loss at the cellular level is exciting. To date, this is the most specific way we have seen to inhibit hair loss.”
Paul Mountjoy is a Virginia based writer and psychotherapist.
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