After thousands of years of quackery fruitloopery cures for baldness, scientists in Durham have finally cracked the causes, and found a cure for baldness that actually works.
Historically cures have involved lotions rubbed on the head, from the slightly distasteful cow-pat to the downright sick umbilical cord of first time mothers. Mostly, the cures have been nothing more than a placebo or hair thickening solutions, and whilst the placebo effect can cure a variety of diseases, baldness isn't one of them.
"We're very excited by this new cure," said Harry Bonce, lead scientist at the Durham Institute for Hirsuteness. "For a while, we have known that baldness is caused by an excess of testosterone. Which is why there is the pervasive myth that bald men are more virile. Unfortunately, as part of our studies we have found that this particular myth is completely and unfortunately untrue."
Humans are the only animal in the animal kingdom that loses head hair in old age, which is what led researchers to look at some peculiarly human proteins, and what they found startled them.
"It's insulin," said Bonce. "The hormone normally associated with diabetes. This is why you'll never see a bald diabetic. Whilst all animals use insulin to maintain a healthy glucose level in the body, in humans, a mutation means that it not only binds with liver cells, but also with the receptors of head hair follicles. Over the years this clogs them up and they cannot regrow. So you go bald. On the plus side, no hair means no insulin problems."
And the cure?
"Currently, we can cure baldness by giving somebody diabetes," said Bonce. "We're hopeful that we can find an alternative solution though."
For the moment, the choice is a life of insulin injection, or a wig.