Slowing Hair Loss -- With Electricity
DECADES AGO, scientists learned that mild pulses of electricity can induce bone cells to grow more bone. So if a little zap can help heal fractures, might it also prod hair follicles to keep growing hair? The outlook is promising -- particularly for cancer patients who are victims of hair loss due to chemotherapy.
Since 1987, Vancouver (B.C.)-based Current Technology has been working on a device that sends electrical pulses through hair follicles. It's modestly effective at boosting hair growth -- about the same as topical drugs such as Minoxidil. But doctors in New Zealand got more striking results when they used CTC's device on women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Twelve of 13 women didn't experience the usual hair loss from the cancer drugs, making it easier for them to cope with the other side effects of chemotherapy, reports lead investigator Dr. Timothy Meakin.
By John Carey, Fortune Magazine, January 7, 2002