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February 21, 2024

SciTech Talk: New hope found for balding undergrads and young paleontologists

By MIKE YAMAKAWA | October 26, 2013


Are you balding? Maybe your father is? There may be hopes for the aging father worried about his hair loss or even the undergrad who has found himself balding early. Current treatments for balding include medication (my dad currently uses Rogaine, an all powerful treatment for hair as he would describe it) and hair transplants. While my dad may think Rogaine is the best thing that’s happened to him since sliced bread, it has some side effects, including significant hormonal changes in your body.

Hair transplants, on the other hand, have been becoming more and more reliable as marks made by the surgery are becoming less apparent. The current method takes hairs from the back of your head, where, if you have not noticed before, never balds, to the top region that has become victim to baldness. Instead of implanting new hair follicles, the eight hour surgery relocates your hair from one place to another.

This, however, inevitably leaves some scars on the back of your head. A hair geneticist and dermatologist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York discovered a new method: Let hair grow elsewhere first. This approach harvests a few cells that are responsible for hair formation and places them on a petridish, where they can grow and multiply into new cells. These cells are then implanted back in the patients’ head, which would soon be flourishing with a new batch of hair again!


As high school student Kevin Terris perambulated a small plot of land recently examined by paleontologists, he had no idea the paleontologists had missed something really big. Or actually quite small, depending on the context.

Upon finding a peculiar rock protruding the surface, he began to excavate what is now known as the most complete fossil structure of a dinosaur called Parasaurolophus. The dinosaur died as a baby, only reaching a fourth of the size that it would have eventually grown to. The leg bone, which serves as a characteristic marker for determining age just as tree trunk rings do, puts the dinosaur at less than a year old. The fossil was named “Joe” after a benefactor of the museum it is currently being kept at.

Parasaurolophus is a duck-billed dinosaur that resided in western North America 75 million years ago. 3D scans were made and made available online, which makes it the first skeleton to have its entire structure in the database.

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