Electrical stimulation of hair follicles – a possible solution

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Researchers in the United States and China have produced a wireless patch that delivers electrical pulses to stimulatehair follicles and consequently hair regrowth..

It can be discreetly placed inside a baseball cap patch that can be worn without worry.

Reports of this clinical trial, which was conducted only by experimentation on a sample of mice, were published by the American Chemical Society on September 10, 2019. The article is titled “Self-activated electrical stimulation for effective hair regeneration using a portable omnidirectional pulse generator.”

 

Anti-hair loss electrical stimulation patch

A team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has developed a flexible patch of one millimeter thickness, made of several layered materials that are charged by energy generated by the movement of the user’s body.

These layers produced electricity as they came into contact with each other, creatingpulses that promoted hair regeneration on the shaved mice used for the experiments, which suffered from a form of genetic hair loss.

Hair growth stimulated by this process is known as the triboelectric effect.

In fact, this process is believed to stimulate the natural production of keratinocytes and vascular endothelial growth factors, which are involved in the normal hair growth process.

According to the study,hair regeneration was significantly faster in the group of mice treated in this way compared to another group treated with topical minoxidil lotion and inert salt solutions.

Other electric-pulse devices capable of stimulating hair growth have always required the use of an external battery or electrical power source.

This new device, on the other hand, is designed to be morecomfortable and ergonomic as it is placed, wirelessly, in a specially designed baseball cap.

The patch was also tested on hairless mice that were genetically deficient in growth factors over a nine-day period.

The patch was applied to each mouse and the surrounding area was treated with minoxidil and saline.

At the end of this test, the mice treated with the patches saw their hair grow to2 millimeters in length, in the areas where the patch was present, and, 1 millimeter in length, in the other topically treated areas.

The researchers also observed that thedensity of the hair wasthree times higher in the areas where the patch had been applied than in the areas treated with saline and minoxidil solution.

 

A future trial for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia

The author of the research paper, Xudong Wang, from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, revealed that he also tried the patch on his father, who had been losing his hair for several years.

“It helped him grow a lot of new hair after a month,” Wang says, emphasizing that this gentle electric pulse therapy is suitable for people who have already been bald for several years but rather, only for those who have experienced mild to advanced hair thinning in a short time or who have recently become bald.

Wang explains that the hairnet should be worn for “a few hours” each day, during which time the affected person shouldactively perform movement with their head in order to generate the necessary amount of electricity.

As a result of these developments, a portable prototype identical to a baseball cap was created.

The team behind the research is now seeking approval for clinical trials in humans, particularly males with androgenetic alopecia. This is because Wang believes that male pattern baldness is the hair loss condition that most closely matches the experiments conducted.

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