A recently invented baseball cap may be able to inverse balding by slightly shocking your scalp for hours on end. A model baseball hat filled with patches that can zap the scalp and stimulate hair. The 1mm-thick plastic patch comprises of layers of differently-charged materials that generate electricity when they come into contact and detached again.
It’s a occurrence known as the triboelectric effect and can end in faster hair re-growth than being connected to a machine for many hours a day. The group, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, experimented it out on the back of clean-shaven lab rats and discovered that when they moved it caused the flexible patch to curve and expand.
They found that this motion triggered the triboelectric effect and observed quicker growth than in rats who had been treated with minoxidil lotion – a usual hair loss cure. Then the team, directed by Xudong Wang, tried the patch on mice that were bald because of a genetic deficiency.
After nine days, they observed, 2mm-long fur had developed on their skin under the patch when matched with 1mm-long hair that grown on skin given treatment with minoxidil. The thickness of the hair was also thrice times more for the patch-administered areas.
He spoke to New Scientist: “It assisted him to grow a lot of new hairs after one month.” His team has now planned a baseball cap that encloses the entire scalp in triboelectric materials.
Wang is looking for approval to test it in men in a clinical experiment. He says it shouldn’t be painful to wear because it generates mild electric pulses. Though the hat will only work in men who are presently facing hair loss or have lately become bald, because the skin loses its capability to produce new hair follicles after several years of bald-headedness, he said.
It’s also doubtful to work as well when men sleep because they don’t make as many movements to power the device. He said that minor head movements during regular daily activity should be sufficient to power the device.
Earlier, a team of scientists gave a breakthrough treatment, saying they have used stem cells to advance a way of making “infinite” hair. In revolutionary trials, human cells were implanted on to mice cells and attached to minute “scaffolds” to help them grow straight.
They were then positioned under the skin and appeared through it. The team is now working towards experiments on humans. Around four in ten Brit men undergo some form of baldness.
Male pattern baldness
Male pattern hair loss (MPHL) is the most common type of hair loss in men. It is also recognised as androgenetic alopecia and affects about half of men over the age of 50.
It is caused by a combination of hormonal and genetic factors. A hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) causes an alteration in the hair follicles on the scalp.
The hairs created by the affected follicles become increasingly smaller in diameter, smaller in length and lighter in color until ultimately the follicles shrink entirely and halt hair production.
It’s believed to be a genetic condition, taken from either or both parents. The typical pattern of hair loss is a waning frontal hairline and hair loss from the top of the head. Hairs in the influenced areas are previously smaller in diameter, and tinier compared to hairs in unaffected areas, before they become absent.
The diagnosis is typically based on the history of scalp, hair loss on the top or front of the head or diminishing hairline, the pattern of hair loss and a family history of similar hair loss.
For now, there’s no treatment but there are various treatments including oral and topical medication, as well as surgery which can be pursued privately.
Let’s hope this comes to the market soon!