• We’re Using Stem Cells to Reverse Baldness and It’s Actually Working
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    We’re Using Stem Cells to Reverse Baldness and It’s Actually Working

    Some very hairy mice are bringing us another step closer to un-LOCKing a way to regenerate a full head of hair. Did somebody say a pun?! About 50% of men and 25% of women experience at least partial hair loss by the age of 50, whether due to age, medical treatments, or disease. Current options for those looking to reverse this loss include things like medications that may slow hair loss and transplants from hair follicles elsewhere on the body. But neither have the often desired effect of restoring a thick and full volume of hair. Researchers have been optimizing techniques for culturing “hair follicle germs” in a dish for…

  • Your Skin Cells Could Make a Baby, Will This Be the End of Infertility?
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    Your Skin Cells Could Make a Baby, Will This Be the End of Infertility?

    We all know where babies come from. An egg is fertilized by sperm and the resulting zygote needs to be implanted in a uterus so it can grow and divide. The key here is the union of the gametes: sperm and egg. This means same-sex partners, or partners who are unable to provide gametes themselves, need to rely on donors. But what if that wasn’t the case? What if we could just generate gametes from the partners? Soon, we might be able to. The method is called in-vitro gametogenesis. It involves converting adult cells into lab-made eggs and sperm cells that can combine to create a zygote. This could pave…

  • What Exactly Is Typhoid Fever?
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    What Exactly Is Typhoid Fever?

    Typhoid fever. Simply put, it’s a bacterial infection that comes largely from contaminated food, water, or sewage. But it’s not just a fever, typhoid can tear holes in your intestines and infect many other organs in your body. Oh, and it’s uniquely evolving to become more and more drug resistant. Typhoid fever is caused by a salmonella bacteria, but not the salmonella you’re probably thinking of. So the salmonella typhi bacteria is different from the salmonella that you might see in the U.S., which is the foodborne salmonellosis. I’m Anita Zaidi and I’m the director for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Enteric and Diarrheal Disease team and the vaccine…

  • Could Increasing the Melanin In Your Skin Protect You From Cancer?
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    Could Increasing the Melanin In Your Skin Protect You From Cancer?

    More people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the US than any other cancer combined. In fact, melanoma–a highly dangerous type of skin cancer–is estimated to claim one life every hour. So what if you could lower your risk of skin cancer….by changing the color of your skin? Ok, this is a big subject, so let’s start with the science. Everyone has something in their skin called melanin, a biological pigment that gives us the color of our skin, hair, and eyes. The cells in our epidermis that make this pigment are called melanocytes, and everyone has the same number of them, but everyone’s melanocytes make different amounts of melanin,…

  • How Does Moisturizer Work?
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    How Does Moisturizer Work?

    It’s the dead of winter. And… well, you know what that means: curling up with some hot cocoa, watching friends on Netflix and staring at your dry, cracked skin. Wait, what? [Reactions intro] When temperatures drop and heaters kick on, indoor air gets drier. That sends many of us scrambling for a moisturizer to ease the unsightly and irritating effects of dry skin. But what do these products actually do? As the name suggests, their job is to make your skin more moist. Skin dries out by a normal process with a fancy scientific name: transepidermal water loss. Or, if you like funny-sounding abbreviations, tewl. Blood vessels only supply moisture…