ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
Fractures in Older Adults Up Death Risk
Brazilian Mint Tea Naturally Good for Pain Relief
CANCER
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Get to Know the Pap Test
Family History Key Player in Brain Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Moms Who Breast-Feed Less Likely to Neglect Child
3 Steps Might Help Stop MRSA's Spread
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
DIABETES
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Antioxidants Abound in Cereals, Popcorn, Whole-Grain Snacks
Mediterranean Diet Helps Protect Aging Brain
Vitamin D Vital for the Heart
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Old-Growth Forests Dying Off in U.S. West
Accumulated Lead May Affect Older Women's Brains
EYE CARE, VISION
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
FITNESS
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
New Methods Could Speed Production of Flu Vaccines
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Soluble Fiber, But Not Bran, Soothes Irritable Bowel
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Whole Grains Lower Risk of Heart Failure
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
MENTAL HEALTH
Drink Away Dementia?
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Add your Article

Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow

THURSDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists have taken a step forward in understanding the mechanisms behind a problem that has bedeviled many men, and some women, for all of history: hair loss.

The study identifies a key signaling molecule that tells hair follicles to start the hair-growing cycle.

"These are very complex molecular signals, and the authors have very nicely shown that there is one molecule, laminins 511, that is a very important signal to tell the hair molecule to move through the process. It's part of a basic biological understanding," said Dr. Ronald Crystal, chairman of genetic medicine at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

The researchers, reporting in the Aug. 1 issue of Genes & Development, feel the findings may one day hold the key to treating male-pattern baldness, as well as hair loss from chemotherapy or even to restore hair on burn victims.

But, as so often happens, the study was conducted in mice and, as Crystal pointed out, "Mice are not just little men and women. They are different than us and also different in their hair."

A series of complex molecular signals tell hair follicles to go through a cycle of follicle growing, hair growing, follicle receding and hair receding, Crystal explained.

The same group of researchers had previously found that the protein laminin-511 was important to hair development.

In this study, the authors found out why. It was originally thought that laminin-511 was made from the cells of the outer layer of the skin (epithelium) and acted on the epithelium.

It now turns out, however, that the protein, although produced by the epithelium, actually penetrates into the inner layer of the skin (dermis) to kick start the hair-growing process.

"So laminin-511 is an early epithelial message to the dermis to say let's start producing hair," said study senior author Dr. Peter Marinkovich, an associate professor of dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine and member of the Stanford Cancer Center. "Hair is formed as a result of cooperation and communication between the two layers."

"We knew that the two layers of the skin are important in hair formation, and we knew that there was some early epithelial signal hypothesized a long time ago, but no one knew what it was until now," he added.

In mice, laminin-511 convinced hair to grow at the equivalent of about the eighth month of pregnancy, but Marinkovich and his colleagues are hoping it might also work later in the life cycle.

Male baldness associated with aging would be an obvious target. "The hair follicles are still there, but they get stuck in the cycle, so it's not well understood why they're stuck and . . . how do you get them unstuck," Crystal said. "The hope, of course, is that you can apply this to humans, but there are some cautions in all that. Biology is very complex. There are a lot of checks and balances. You don't want hair follicles and cells in hair follicles to be growing too much or not enough. The on-and-off signals that are dampening that and controlling that are very, very complex and not well understood. This is far, far from humans."

-Amanda Gardner

More information

For more on male-pattern baldness, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Ronald Crystal, M.D., chairman, genetic medicine, New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York City; Peter Marinkovich, M.D., associate professor, dermatology, Stanford University School of Medicine, and member, Stanford Cancer Center; Aug. 1, 2008, Genes & Development

Last Updated: July 31, 2008

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