While the headline may sound like it was ripped from The Onion, McDonald's french fries could hold the secret to curing baldness. Japanese scientists conducted a study that found that a chemical used to cook McDonald's fries could be beneficial in the treatment of male pattern baldness.
Scientists were able to successfully regrow hair on mice.
Hair Follicle Germs
Scientists from Yokohama National University were able to regrow the hair on mice using dimethylpolysiloxane. This is a silicone that is used when cooking McDonald's fries in order to stop the oil from frothing.
Scientists were able to mass-produce hair follicle germs (HFGs). These cells trigger follicle development. Scientists have been trying to produce HFGs to cure baldness. They were able to grow HFGs on a large scale, up to 5,000 HFGs at the same time.
"The key for the mass production of HFGs was a choice of substrate materials for culture vessel," said author Junji Fukuda, from Yokohama National University. "We used oxygen-permeable dimethylpolysiloxane at the bottom of culture vessel, and it worked very well."
Days after the HFGs were transplanted into mice, hair began growing. Scientists are hopeful that this method could be produced to work on humans.
Scientists hope to use this technique to treat people with androgenic alopecia. Preliminary data shows that this may be possible
While it is more of a cosmetic issue rather than a life-threatening one, hair loss affects a large number of people worldwide. In the United States, the hair loss treatment industry made more than $6 billion in 2016.
Other Cures For Baldness
The last time another breakthrough in the fight against baldness occurred, it also came out of Asia. Scientists in South Korea created the chemical CXXC-type zinc finger protein 5. This chemical disrupts the process within cells that controls the development of hair follicles.
Mice were also used in this study. Over a period of 28 days, the mice were given the chemical that started the growth of new hair follicles. This protein is able to control hair growth.
Scientists also found that they could speed up hair growth by applying valproic acid to the mice.
Those that are already suffering from baldness are always looking for ways to alleviate the problem. This can lead to them getting scammed. In China, a ring of scammers selling a fake cure for baldness received a sentence of 13 years in jail.
Using the guise of traditional Chinese medicine, the scammers told people that they were losing hair because of weak kidneys.