While some may say vanity is not a masculine trait at all, men would be very hard pressed not to be concerned about their hair or lack of it. Male pattern baldness is perhaps the singularly most divisive phenomenon the human body can throw up at you without actually making you sick, but, though it may appear to be overtly benign, male pattern baldness is still potent enough to keep men up at night, affecting, according to figures, nearly half of all men under 50 with nearly 80 percent of all men having some degrees of hair loss by the age of 80.
The exact causes for this natural phenomenon has often eluded scientists and researchers and while a multi-billion dollar industry may have sprouted to try, in whatever way to tackle this, hair piece or Rogaine have not been enough and all but a miracle cure is needed.
Well, according to a new study, published in the journal, Science Translational Medicine, scientists may have finally found the reason behind baldness that has so long eluded the scientific community.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania said that they had finally "pinpointed" the protein that triggers hair loss. It has been known for a while that testosterone plays an important role in hair loss and the decrease in this male sex hormone reduces the size of hair follicles to the point that they become almost invisible, completely inhibiting regrowth. But, now, according to the University of Pennsylvania team, it has been discovered that a protein is found to ‘trigger’ hair loss and that it is apparently entirely responsible for thinning of hair and hair loss.
The protein, prostaglandin D synthase, was noted to be present in high levels in hair follicles in bald patches but absent in areas of hair. The Pennsylvania team used mice for their experiments and in them, they saw that when bred to have high levels of the protein, the mice were completely bald and also experienced less growth of transplanted healthy human hair.
Speaking about this discovery, lead researcher Prof. George Cotsarelis, of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Dermatology, said, "Essentially we showed that prostaglandin protein was elevated in the bald scalp of men and that it inhibited hair growth. So we identified a target for treating male-pattern baldness. The next step would be to screen for compounds that affect this receptor and to also find out whether blocking that receptor would reverse balding or just prevent balding - a question that would take a while to figure out."
With this discovery, it has come to the knowledge that several drugs, some under clinical trials, specifically target this protein and it is hoped that with it baldness may be prevented or cured.