Baldness: That cursed genetic trait, forever cock-blocking older men from cheating on their wives (with the exception of Bruce Willis), squelching their confidence to ask for a better cubicle and overall giving them the vague look of a gigantic human condom. And thus, Baldness: No. 1 most profitable "disease" yet to be cured.
Until now. Maybe.
See, UCLA scientists were just going about business as usual, torturing their lab mice with a "chemical compound that blocks the effects of stress on the gut" over the last few months [NYT], when voila:
All those mice who had once been losing their hair due to stress were now sporting thick, luscious coats of mousey-ass mouseness. Bow chicka wow wow...
We're sure the UCLA scientists fancy their discovery pretty sexy, too -- because now, what would probably have been another run-of-the-mill stress drug has possibly turned into What Men Want More Than Anything in the World, which will make them rich, bitch (as if the health execs at UCLA weren't already rolling in the millions).
The New York Times offers cautious hope:
Already the research is drawing a mixed response from dermatologists and hair-loss researchers. Dr. Melissa Piliang, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, cautioned that the findings of a mouse study may not be applicable to humans, but she said that the results may spur more study of the role stress might play in human hair loss.
"We've certainly seen patients whose hair worsened when they are under a lot of stress," said Dr. Piliang. "But what we don't know is whether some of this genetic hair loss is particularly affected by stress. I think it's hopeful for future research and treatment."
But -- and this is one damn-girl, bootylicious but -- the "cure" may only apply to stress-induced baldness, as opposed to genetic.
Every party has a pooper:
Dr. George Cotsarelis, chairman of the dermatology department at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, said any treatment developed from the research would probably be useful only for hair loss related to stress, likes that caused by one-time events, rather than as a treatment for genetic baldness.
"It's difficult to say that it's going to lead to a new treatment,'' he said.
Still, everyone can agree it's the beginning of something great -- especially these little guys, who have to be the luckiest lab mice in the world. Just look at them, baskin' in the limelight like they were born this way:
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Study co-director Million Mulugeta (yes, her name is actually Million, and she is therefore a total baller, even aside from the bald cure thing) mentions one more exciting effect of the chemical: Skin pigment changed in some of the mice.
Meaning, for old people, that the potential drug could possibly convert their gray hair back to its original color. And meaning, for the rest of the world, that we may no longer be subjected to the black-hair-dye phases of midlife crises everywhere.
And that's a beautiful thing. For the full study, undergo complete mind-boggling here.