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UW-Madison research working to reverse affects of baldness

Pedestrians and students walk across Bascom Hill at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as the...
Pedestrians and students walk across Bascom Hill at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as the tree foliage begins to take on a golden hue during autumn on Nov. 3, 2016. At top, red and white banners featuring an iconic W and the phrase "All Ways Forward" adorn the exterior columns of Bascom Hall. (Photo by Jeff Miler/UW-Madison)(WSAW)
Published: Sep. 13, 2019 at 5:02 PM CDT
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UW-Madison engineers are making strides in reversing the effects of baldness, thanks to a new “growth-stimulating” technology.

In a release Friday, Xudong Wang, a professor of materials science and engineering at UW-Madison, says that 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, according to the release, but they wouldn't bestow cascading tresses to someone who has been as bald as a billiard ball 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. According to the release, in fact, they're so low-profile that they could be discreetly worn underneath the crown of an everyday baseball cap.