A chemical compound discovered "entirely by accident" in UCLA labs has been found to not only reduce stress but also, consequently, regrow hair where it has fallen out.
The compound in question is called astressin-B, which blocks the stress hormone corticotrophin-releasing factor, or CRF. It was originally being injected into mice with a chronic stress condition to determine if it would help their gastrointestinal function.
However, the UCLA researchers discovered that this CRF-blocker has a surprising effect: the mice, who had lost much of their hair due to the stress condition, grew all of their hair back within three months.
After this discovery, the researchers compared the compound to minoxidil, the most common medication prescribed for hair loss, and found that the CRF-blocker grew back significantly more hair.
And it had one other amazing effect: it prevented hair from turning gray.
The authors of the study, which appears in the scientific journal PLoS One, say that it could take as long as five years before astressin-B is tested in human hair-loss trials. However, they are confident that it could eventually be used as an injection or nasal spray for people.