In what is a major breakthrough thanks to new research, scientists are claiming they have found a potential cure for hair loss.
With statistics and estimations showing that approximately 85% of men and 40% of women will be affected by hair loss at some point in their lives, researchers at the University of California Riverside have been studying hair follicles in depth to try and find out as much as possible.
In a new study published in the Biophysical Journal, the team at UC Riverside explained that they decided to focus on hair follicles as they’re the only organ in humans that regenerates automatically and regularly, even if they haven’t been injured – and it’s from this research that they they discovered that just a single chemical is the key cause for hair follicle cells dividing and dying.
They discovered a type of protein named TGF-beta.
TGF-beta controls the process in which cells in hair follicles – including stem cells – divide and form new cells, or orchestrate their own death, which eventually leads to the death of the whole hair follicle.
But could this be reversed and successfully cure baldness and heal wounds? Scientists hope so.
Explaining more about the discovery in the study, UC Riverside mathematical biologist and study co-author Qixuan Wang said: “In science fiction when characters heal quickly from injuries, the idea is that stem cells allowed it.
“In real life, our new research gets us closer to understanding stem cell behaviour, so that we can control it and promote wound healing.”
“TGF-beta has two opposite roles,” Wang added.
“It helps activate some hair follicle cells to produce new life, and later, it helps orchestrate apoptosis, the process of cell death.”
While no one is entirely sure why follicles kill themselves, and some hypotheses suggest it’s a trait inherited from animals shedding fur to survive hot summer temperatures, or trying to camouflage, what we do know is that with TGF-beta, as is the same with many chemicals, it’s the amount that makes the difference, and if the cell produces a certain quantity of TGF-beta, then it activates cell division.
Wang continued: “Even when a hair follicle kills itself, it never kills its stem cell reservoir [as] when the surviving stem cells receive the signal to regenerate, they divide, make new cell and develop into a new follicle.”
Of course, there’s still some way to go until baldness is cured – however, researchers have suggested that it may be possible to activate follicle stem cells and stimulate hair growth if more research is carried out on how TGF-beta communicates with other genes and promotes cell division.
If they can find a way to accurately control levels of the protein, then it could lead to an effective treatment for hair loss.
“Potentially, our work could offer something to help people suffering from a variety of problems,” Wang concluded.
Crown Paints hit with more than 100 complaints over new ‘misogynistic’ and ‘offensive’ advert
A Northern-based paint company has been hit with more than 100 complaints over its new TV advert, which has been branded “offensive”.
Crown Paints – which is based in Darwen in Lancashire – released the advert in question earlier this month, and through a cast of actors, singers, and spoken word performers, it tells the story of a young couple named Hannah and Dave.
The couple were said to have met at an illegal rave, and are now expecting their first child together.
Lyrics from the advert’s jingle include: “Now a baby’s coming and they don’t know what it is. Hannah’s hoping for a girl, Dave’s just hoping that it’s his.
“They’re happy that their spare room’s no longer grey because there’s a baby on the way.”
Since its release and airing on TV screens across the UK, an Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) spokesman said it had received 150 complaints about the advert – which it is “currently assessing to determine if there is a potential problem under our rules and, if so, whether there are grounds for further action”.
The ASA says the majority of complaints are mainly focused on whether the content in the advert is appropriate to be shown on television, as well as many taking to social media and calling it out for being “totally derogatory” towards women.
Comedian Jennie Eclair was one of the more prominent figures to complain to Crown Paints on social media earlier this week, tweeting: “Hey Crown Paints, get that offensive baby ad off air – what were you thinking!!!? What on earth possessed you?”
Author and podcast host, Daisy Buchanan, was one of the many people to welcome Eclair’s tweet and say in response: “I honestly thought it was me being mad”.
One viewer took to Twitter and said: “Totally derogatory of women, questioning her fidelity. Take it off because it won’t sell much paint.”
Others said it was “offensive”, “misogynistic”, and a “serious error of judgement”.
Crown Paints then responded to Eclair’s tweet saying: “Our ads are intended to give a humorous account of our characters’ stories. We appreciate that people have differing tastes when it comes to humour and whilst the ad has been broadly well received, we apologise if the remark has caused offence to anyone.”
But Eclair still said she felt that the advert “set up a scenario that implies a woman has possibly conned a man into fatherhood”.
Following both the growing online backlash, and the 150 official complaints about the advert, Crown Paints has issued a formal statement addressing the claims.
A spokesperson said: “This ad is one in a series that is intended to celebrate special moments in life in a humorous way.
“The characters of Hannah and Dave are shown to be in a happy relationship and preparing for their new arrival. There are no negative connotations intended from any of the lyrics and whilst the ad has been broadly well received, we recognise that people have differing tastes in humour.
“We apologise if any of the lines have caused offence.”
Featured Image – Crown Paints
Experts warn that Flying Ant Day is imminent and it could be ‘any day’ now – but what is it?
Gardening experts are warning that the annual phenomenon known as Flying Ant Day is right around the corner, and it could be “any day” now.
Flying Ant Day is apparently on its way too, and it could be here before we know it.
As a thunderstorm warning now in place for much of the country, with heavy rain, wind, and general stormy conditions forecast set to bring potential flooding, damage to buildings, and disruption, the change in weather could also bring flying ants.
Post-heatwave is usually considered to be the ideal time of year for the creatures fill the air in swarms, according to experts, but while the annual occurrence is called Flying Ant Day, most of the time, it isn’t just a one-day thing.
But what actually is Flying Ant Day? What should we be expecting? And is there any way to make sure flying ants don’t get inside our homes?
What is Flying Ant Day?
To sum it up simply, Flying Ant Day – which is scientifically referred to as nuptial flight – is a natural annual event that sees countless of the flying insects take to the skies in a bid to avoid the heat.
It marks the day or time of year where virgin queens mate with males to start new colonies.
While it’s impossible to predict an exact day for the annual occurrence, there have been warnings that 2022’s Flying Ant Day could take place any time from 15 August, so we’re already a day overdue and it’s worth keeping an eye out.
What are the experts saying?
“Most of us have been enjoying the heatwave, but while we’ve been making the most of the sun, a storm has been brewing,” explained Chris Bonnett – founder of Gardening Express.
“There is no specific day for Flying Ant Day, it’s usually just around mid to late August and it typically happens after a heatwave [and] the reason for this being that ants prefer humid weather and they use this time to get on the lookout for a new home and whilst that’s all well and good, it becomes a real nuisance for those of us who enjoy spending time in our gardens and outdoors.
“Ants in the UK aren’t dangerous, but they can be extremely irritating.”
How can I stop flying ants getting into my home?
Gardening Express has also given a handful of top tips to keep flying ants outside and stop them from entering into our homes.