One of our favourite sites, Futurism, has been reflecting on the recent wave of “McDonalds french fries cure baldness” stories. We thought we would share their thoughts.
We will put our hands up on this. We ran the story ourselves. A team in Japan had used a chemical that McDonald’s use to cook their french fries as an essential part of their process, a process which ultimately resulted in mice growing hair. We like to think that our article framed it well, that the chemical was being used in a very specific way to generate the hair follicle germs (HFG’s) they then use to implant the mice with hair sprouting properties.
The Futurism Point Of View
Like Futurism we couldn’t help but notice that by the time the story hit the mainstream it had morphed, the explanation of the chemistry that underpinned was largely left out and it had become simply become “McDonalds french fries cure baldness.” Futurism wanted to point out that the chemical is also used in nail polish and sunscreen… but nobody has yet suggested that either of these popular products might be beneficial for hair loss sufferers.
The fact is that the chemical in question, dimethylpolysiloxane, is added to the oil they cook the french fries in to stop it foaming. It serves different purposes in different products but the researchers in Japan found it was an ideal compost, if you like, to grow HFG’s… spread a little on the bottom of a petri dish, add stem cells, and produce HFG’s in quantities never before achieved. It becomes a publishable piece of work when they implanted the aforementioned stem cells into mice which sprouted hair.
HIS Hair Clinic
There are a couple of burning questions we will all have. How long, assuming everything between here and there goes well, before we might see a product made for human use will be the main one. Futurism, see their original article here, make an educated guess of around a decade on that… so let’s not get overexcited. Eating McDonald french fries definitely won’t do it. Which takes us to our second question, how do they cook their french fries in dimethylpolysiloxane and it not appear in the ingredients. What else goes into that oil?
One last observation on the Futurism article, in their closing advice was, for now, to stick to the “wigs, plugs, and micropigmentation…” It is great to see SMP recognised as a mainstream option by such educated observers.
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