Scientists Accidentally Discover Cure for Baldness

In studying the effect of the compound astressin-B on mice, scientists found that it could regrow the rodents' hair.

While studying the effects of a chemical compound that blocks stress in mice, scientists from University of California, Los Angeles and the Veterans Administration came across an interesting discovery: a cure for baldness.

Because of an overproduction of stress hormone, the mice had lost all of their hair. After the treatment with the chemical compound, astressin-B, they were returned to a cage with their fur-covered companions. The scientists didn’t expect to see any changes in the rodents—but upon returning three months later, they discovered that the once-bald mice were completely indistinguishable from their furry friends. The chemical compound had done more than block stress: It had permanently regrown their fur.

Upon repeating the experiment with hair growth in mind, the scientists found that even five small daily doses of the compound could lead to hair growth within the space of several weeks. When injected into mice who hadn’t yet lost their hair, they never went bald. The results show that the compound could both grow hair and prevent future hair loss.

The researchers caution that the development may only apply to stress-related hair loss, and a lot of work will need to be done before humans can benefit from this accidental invention. Still, the results could bode well for the world’s George Costanzas.

“The evidence to show that hair loss is not a permanent loss is shown very strongly in this study, and that by itself is very important,’’ Dr. Million Mulugeta of UCLA told the New York Times. “The antagonist really triggers a mechanism that covers a lot of biological phenomena, including hair growth and hair color. We certainly intend to continue the research.’’