(NEWSER) – Researchers studying stress hormones were surprised to stumble upon what appears to be a cure for baldness—at least in mice. Mice who had gone bald due to overproduction of a stress hormone were treated with a compound that blocks stress in the gut and then returned to cages where they joined furry colleagues from a control group. Months later, researchers realized that the bald mice had regrown their fur and were indistinguishable from the others apart from ear tags, reports the New York Times.
The mice, without receiving another treatment, kept their hair, and further research revealed that young mice treated with the compound never went bald. "The compound initiates the hair cycle," the lead researcher says. "In bald individuals, and in these mice, the hair follicles are in a resting stage. The antagonist awakes them. It turns on the cycle, and the growing phase starts." They caution that much more research remains to be done and any treatment for humans is, at best, years away.