Good morning everyone,

It didn't rain non-stop yesterday-just only when I was on my bike...ha ha! This morning it's raining again...or still...and likely to continue for most of the day. It should stop raining this evening and then be mostly cloudy overnight and into tomorrow. We may see some rain again tomorrow afternoon/evening before turning cloudy on Friday and possibly clearing up and becoming hot and sunny on the weekend. Typhoons 9 and 10 won't come anywhere near the main island in Japan-but it's still hard to say where Typhoon 11 may head...

Three more years…

For much of my life I’ve been waiting for this moment. Even throughout my teens I  glanced at the hairlines of my father and older brothers and could imagine how I would look in a few years. At the same time I figured medical science would have to have developed something by the time my hair would start falling out.

However, as I entered my thirties,  there still seemed to be no true cure for baldness on the horizon. They were out there cloning sheep and growing ears on the backs of mice, but they still couldn’t give me anything to look forward to for my hair...or lack thereof.

And just as I've been thinking about raising my razor to go the Bruce Willis route, I saw an article in the news that brings me a ray of hope. It said that the cure to baldness actually lies inside me and my stem cells, and that the key to unlocking it would be available in just three more years…

This isn’t some chemical treatment with only a chance of working and slew of side-effects. Nor is this some implant or transplant requiring you to take a leap of faith in your doctor’s artistic sensibilities. It’s a method to kickstart your own hair roots to work like they used to back when I was young younger.

First, medical staff will take some cells to reprogram as induced pluripotent stem cells, the scientific breakthrough that won Shinya Yamanaka the Nobel Prize back in 2012. At the moment it seems fibroblasts are the go-to ones for the job. These can be found in joints and scar tissue. That sounds a wee bit painful but worth it...and there is already research into alternative methods.

Then doctors will remove a piece of your scalp a few millimeters in diameter and just as deep as your roots. This will yield a small sample of the cells which trigger hair growth. If you're like me, it'll probably look like a night view of North Korea

However, after the iPS cells do their thing it will light up like that episode of Pokémon that gave kids seizures. In other words, the number of active hair growth cells will go from the order of tens to millions. One downside is that this cell multiplication will take a few months, but hey, we’ve waited this long haven’t we?

After that the new cells are injected back into your scalp, which then receives the order to grow hair anew and starts pushing out luscious locks! This treatment will be being tested throughout this year. It’s being headed by Japanese cosmetic company Shiseido and scheduled to be commercially available in 2018-which means that rich people will get thick hair in 2018 and the rest of us sometime around 2030...ha ha!

 It’s also just among the first signs of the highly lucrative regenerative medicine business including a treatment for post-stroke effects such as paralysis expected to be ready in 2020 and even more serious life-saving procedures from there.

So, this is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the usefulness of iPS cells, but for hundreds of millions of men and women it’s a great start!

Have a great day!

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