Reversing baldness could someday be as easy as wearing a hat, thanks to a noninvasive, low-cost hair-growth-stimulating technology developed by engineers at the University of Wisconsin (UW)–Madison. “I think this will be a very practical solution to hair regeneration,” says Xudong Wang, PhD, a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Wisconsin (UW)–Madison. Dr. Wang and colleagues published a description of the technology in the journal ACS Nano on September 10, 2019. The article is titled “Self-Activated Electrical Stimulation for Effective Hair Regeneration via a Wearable Omnidirectional Pulse Generator. Based on devices that gather energy from a body’s day-to-day motion, the hair-growth technology stimulates the skin with gentle, low-frequency electric pulses, which coax dormant follicles to reactivate hair production. The devices don’t cause hair follicles to sprout anew in smooth skin. Instead, they reactivate hair-producing structures that have gone dormant. That means they could be used as an intervention for people in the early stages of pattern baldness, but they wouldn’t bestow cascading tresses to someone who has been completely bald for several years. Because the devices are powered by the movement of the wearer, they don’t require a bulky battery pack or complicated electronics. In fact, they’re so low-profile that they could be discreetly worn underneath the crown of an everyday baseball cap. Dr. Wang is a world expert in the design and creation of energy-harvesting devices. He has pioneered electric bandages that stimulate wound-healing and a weight-loss implant that uses gentle electricity to trick the stomach into feeling full.
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