Science / Medicine : Cause Found for Baldness

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A University of Miami researcher says that the biochemical cause of male baldness has been found, but a cure for the hair loss problem will require more study.

Dr. Marty E. Sawaya, a researcher at the University of Miami School of Medicine, said last week that she and her colleagues have isolated specific proteins involved in the balding process by studying tissue taken from the scalps of men undergoing scalp surgery.

She said the group found two forms of protein and that the smaller of the two was identified as the cause of the balding process.


“There are proportionally more of the smaller protein in the hair follicles from bald areas of the same scalps,” said Dr. Sawaya in a statement released by the Society for Investigative Dermatology. “We also find that the male hormone binds more efficiently to the smaller receptor than the larger protein in the hair follicles.”

Dr. Sawaya said there was a consistent ratio of about 2 to 1 of the small protein to the large protein in the bald hair follicles, but a much smaller ratio of the two proteins in active hair follicles. “If we can regulate the ratio of smaller protein to larger, then maybe we can stop the hair from falling out,” she said.