Chronic stress leads to hair loss says study

Harvard University researchers have identified the biological mechanism by which chronic stress impairs hair follicle stem cells, confirming long-standing observations that stress might lead to hair loss. In a mouse study published in the journal Nature, the researchers found that a major stress hormone puts hair follicle stem cells into an extended resting phase, without regenerating the follicle or the hair. The researchers identified the specific cell type and molecule responsible for relaying the stress signal to the stem cells, and showed that this pathway can be potentially targeted to restore hair growth. “My lab is interested in understanding how stress affects stem cell biology and tissue biology, spurred in part by the fact that everyone has a story to share about what happens to their skin and hair when they are stressed. I realized that as a skin stem cell biologist, I could not provide a satisfying answer regarding if stress indeed has an impact — and more importantly,…