February 16, 2018 / 1:12 PM / a month ago

'Easy on the fries!', Japan scientists tell hopeful bald people

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese scientists have warned that eating french fries will not cure baldness, after research was published suggesting that chemicals used in cooking fried potatoes could help fight hair loss.

A research team at Yokohama National University succeeded in producing clusters of 5,000 hair follicle germs (HFGs), the base organs that produce hair, with the aid of dimethylpolysiloxane, a material that was key to cultivating large numbers of HFGs.

The team also succeeded in growing hair on the backs of mice after transplantation in a relatively short period of time.

After dimethylpolysiloxane was reported as being used in oil to fry potatoes, researchers received a number of inquiries asking how many french fries people should eat to cure baldness.

Slideshow (2 Images)

“No matter how many fried potatoes you eat, you’ll never grow more hair. That’s a total misunderstanding that’s gone viral,” lead researcher Junji Fukuda told Reuters.

Fukuda said the research, published in the journal Biomaterials this month, was a breakthrough as scientists had previously struggled to produce the large quantities of HFGs needed to generate significant hair growth.

“Up until now we’ve only been able to produce a few dozen hair follicle germs at a time, but with this new technology we’ve developed a simple method to produce hundreds and thousands,” Fukuda said.

The team have also received many serious inquiries from researchers and people seeking hair-regenerative medicine to offer their cells to test and develop the research, he said.

Reporting by Kwiyeon Ha; Writing by Kwiyeon Ha in Tokyo and Mark Hanrahan in London; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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