Ten more years...

Good morning everyone,

I know they are saying that by the end of the week, we'll be looking at highs in the high teens, but don't expect it to be warm today. It may get up to around 8C and that's it. Tomorrow won't be much better-it's going to get up to 10C, but it'll be cloudy, so it probably won't feel that much warmer. Then, it will gradually warm up throughout the week and by the weekend, we're looking at highs near 20C!

It's not secret that my hair is thinning-and I'm not alone; about 70% of men and 35% of women experience hair-loss according to doctors. I actually think it's probably higher than that...

Anyway, there's good news for us in the research of hair loss...a Tokyo Medical and Dental University research team announced in the British journal Science on Feb. 5 that it has uncovered the mechanism through which hair thins out along with the process of aging.

The team, led by professor Emi Nishimura with the university's Department of Stem Cell Biology, found that the protein known as Collagen Type XVII, or COL17A1 -- which protects the hair follicle stem cells that are necessary for the production of hair -- decreases along with age.

Human hair has a lifespan of three to five years, after which time it falls out and is replaced by new hair that grows in at the same spot. At this time, the hair follicle stem cells in the pores are utilized for the regeneration of the cells that go on to become the basis of the hair.
Tracing the movements of the hair follicle stem cells of live mice over a long period of time revealed that they failed to self-replicate as the mice aged. The cells also moved gradually toward the epidermis, and were ultimately shed as dandruff or grime. The new hair that grew in was thinner, and the pores became smaller and eventually disappeared.

The team additionally discovered that the no-longer functioning hair follicle stem cells secreted a substance that worked to break down COL17A1 -- which they attributed to the accumulated damage to the hair follicle stem cells' DNA that occurs with age.

Mice that were genetically manipulated so as not to lose the COL17A1, however, were discovered to have 1.4 times as many pores by age 2 as compared with regular mice.

In an investigation of healthy women's scalps, it was found that an average of 2.2 percent of the pores had shrunk in the three women aged 35 to 45, whereas the figure was an average of around 15 percent for the five women aged 55 to 70.

"If we can locate a substance that works to suppress the depletion of COL17A1, it is possible that it could go on to become a medical remedy for thinning hair, as well as an effective treatment for the hair loss that occurs when undergoing radiation therapy for cancer," noted professor Nishimura.

"We plan to look for a candidate substance over the coming several years, and put it into practical use within 10 years," she added.

That's great news! All I need to do is somehow convince my hair to stick around for 10 more years...or more like 15, because it'll probably be insanely expensive for the first 5 years or so and won't be affordable for us poor folk at first...ha ha!

Have a great day!

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