Few things on earth hit people's hearts as deeply as hair loss. Thanks to a non-invasive, cost-effective hair growth stimulation technology developed by engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, one day it might be as easy to reverse baldness as wearing a hat.
"I think this will be a very practical solution to hair regeneration," says Xudong Wang, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at UW-Madison.
Wang and colleagues published a description of the technology in the journal ACS Nano In devices that gain energy from the daily movement of the body, hair growth technology stimulates the skin with gentle, low-frequency electrical impulses that are dormant follicles to reactivate hair production.
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The devices do not allow hair follicles to sprout again in smooth skin. Instead, they reactivate sleeping, hair-producing structures. That is, they could be used as an intervention for people in the early stages of pattern baldness, but they would give cascading attractions to anyone as bald as a billiard ball for several years.
Because the devices are powered by the movement of the carrier, they do not require a bulky battery or complicated electronics. In fact, they are so unobtrusive that they could be discreetly worn under the crown of an everyday baseball cap.
Wang is a world expert in design and design creation of energy harvesting equipment. He has pioneered electrical dressings that promote wound healing, and a weight-loss implant that uses gentle electricity to make the stomach feel full.
The hair growth technology is based on a similar premise: small devices, so-called nano generators, passively collect energy from everyday movements and then transmit low-frequency electricity pulses to the skin. This gentle electrical stimulation lets sleeping follicles "wake up".
"Electrical stimulation can support many different body functions," says Wang. "Before our work, however, there was no really good solution for low-profile devices that provide gentle yet effective stimulation."  LOOK : After a hugely successful crowdfunding, you can now order bicycle helmets that, like normal helmets look like hats
Since the electrical impulses are incredibly gentle and do not penetrate deeper than the outermost layers of the scalp, the devices do not appear to cause any unpleasant side effects. This is a distinct advantage over other baldness therapies such as the drug Propecia, where the risk of sexual dysfunction, depression and anxiety effectively exists as two different compounds found in baldness medications.
"It's a self-activated system that's very simple and easy to use," says Wang. "The energy is very low, so it will only cause minimal side effects."
Reprinted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison
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