Meanwhile, scientists are still trying to understand the mechanism by which the hair stops growing. In 2010, researchers examined sections of scalp with and without hair and found that stem cells were still present in the follicles in both areas, but in bald regions they weren’t progressing onto the next stage where they would normally develop into so-called progenitor cells. This study raises hopes that one day hair could be grown on bald parts of the heads, if scientists can find a way of triggering growth or blocking whatever is preventing it, and researchers are currently investigating particular proteins that might provide that trigger.
Baldness seems to involve more myths than many other conditions, possibly because its distribution feels so arbitrary that we look for explanations. If you have lost your hair sadly you can’t claim to be more virile, but you can blame your parents. They passed on the genes after all.
You can hear more Medical Myths on Health Check on the BBC World Service.
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