A Cure for Baldness Might Come From the Deep Fryer at McDonald's

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iStock

Science has thus far failed sufferers of baldness. Aside from expensive surgeries that transplant individual hair grafts from the back to the front of the head and medications that can slow the progression of loss, there is no cure. But researchers may be closer than ever, thanks to a common food preparation additive found in many fast food menu items.

A study recently published in the journal Biomaterials detailed work performed by Yokohama National University that shows promising results for regenerative therapy—a method for growing hair follicles in enough quantity to repopulate bald or balding areas. The Yokohama scientists were able to produce hair-follicle germs, or HFGs, cells that direct the development of follicles, in the lab. Once injected into the backs of mice, hair follicles and hair shaft regeneration followed: Tufts of hair began sprouting on the mice within days.

Professor Junji Fukuda said in a statement that the key to mass production of HFGs was having a substrate to rest on while being prepared and then injected into the mice. They chose dimethylpolysiloxane, a type of silicone found in commercial frying oils to prevent them from frothing.

The next step will be to see if the approach is as effective in humans. "This simple method is very robust and promising,” Fukuda said. “We hope that this technique will improve human hair regenerative therapy to treat hair loss such as androgenic alopecia. In fact, we have preliminary data that suggests human HFG formation using human keratinocytes [skin] and dermal papilla cells." 

[h/t Newsweek]

10 Surprising Uses for Leftover Bananas

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iStock

Bananas are practically the perfect fruit. They’re high in potassium and vitamins. They don’t need to be washed or sliced. They make a great healthy snack, but you can also put them in bread, ice cream, pie, and pancakes. What’s not to love?

Well, there’s one tiny problem—they go bad quickly. Bananas produce a large amount of a gas called ethylene, which causes fruit to ripen faster, meaning that there's a small window to enjoy them. Just because a bunch of bananas is past its prime doesn’t mean they can’t be used, though. Here are a few of the things you can do with ripe bananas.

1. TREAT BUG BITES.

Pressing the inside of a banana peel onto a bite from a mosquito or other insect for a few minutes is a surprisingly simple way to quell itching. In fact, some studies have shown that banana peels can help reduce irritation and inflammation [PDF, PDF]. The use of banana peels to treat inflammation is said to be an ancient Chinese remedy, but people around the world swear (with varying degrees of evidence) by the fruit’s ability to soothe poison ivy rashes, psoriasis, sunburn, and other skin maladies.

2. REMOVE A SPLINTER.

If tweezers aren’t getting that pesky splinter out, try a banana peel instead. Tape a piece of the peel onto the affected area (with the soft, inner side of the peel facing down) and leave it in place for about 10 minutes. The enzymes in the fruit should help to force the splinter out.

3. ATTRACT BUTTERFLIES AND HUMMINGBIRDS.

Once a common sight in the U.S., monarch butterflies are now difficult to spot. Their population has dwindled due to loss of habitat, but you can improve your chances of seeing them by placing an overripe banana out in your garden. They’re just soft and sweet enough for butterflies to enjoy (make sure to remove the bananas before you go to bed, though, or else you'll have animals like raccoons in your garden). You can also place bananas near a hummingbird feeder to attract fruit flies, which the birds feast on.

4. FERTILIZE PLANTS.

While you’re out in the garden feeding the birds and butterflies, give your plants some love, too. When cut-up banana peels are buried, they enrich the soil with nutrients and help nourish plants. You can also wrap a banana peel around a tomato plant to create a natural fertilizer.

5. POLISH LEATHER AND SILVER.

If you’re in need of a quick shoe shine, reach for the fruit bowl. The potassium in bananas make them a great, quick tool for polishing your leather. Simply buff the leather with the inside of a banana peel, and use a cloth to wipe it clean. The same technique can also be used to polish silver (though some recommend blending the banana peels into a paste and putting that on a cloth for polishing).

6. MAKE SMOOTHIES, SANS ICE.

Bananas have long been a staple in smoothies, but what if you have a whole bunch that’s about to go bad? Instead of throwing them out, stick them in the freezer. You can pull one out any time you get a smoothie craving, and since it’s frozen, you won’t even need to add ice.

7. MAKE NATURAL BEAUTY PRODUCTS.

Beauty products don’t have to be expensive. Bananas are a great ingredient in DIY hair treatments and skin exfoliants. The amino and citric acids help protect hair from damage and keep it shiny. There are a few different recipes you can try, some of which combine banana with avocado, yogurt, egg, and other ingredients. Rubbing the inside of a banana peel onto your face (seriously, try it) is also said to brighten your skin, fight acne, and reduce puffiness around your eyes.

8. PREVENT INFLAMED MUSCLES.

A recent study published in the journal PLOS One found that competitive cyclists who had consumed a banana instead of a sugary drink or water had less inflammation following their workout. Although other physicians cite the benefits of consuming bananas post-workout, the sample for this particular study was small—only 20 cyclists—and was funded by Dole Foods (although they had no role in any part of the study), so you might not want to swap out ibuprofen for bananas just yet—especially since the lead author told The New York Times that the banana led to “quite a bit of bloating,” so maybe best to not experiment on race day.

9. REPAIR A SCRATCHED DVD.

CDs and DVDs may be a dying technology, but many people still have a few lying around at home. If you have any discs that are scratched, you can try using toothpaste and banana to salvage them. First, rub toothpaste into the scratches with a cloth. Wipe it off, then rub a piece of banana onto the disc in a circular motion. Do the same thing with the banana peel and clean the disc with window cleaner. Whether or not this trick works will depend on how badly the disc is scratched, but it’s worth a shot!

10. TRY OUT SOME NEW RECIPES.

If a bunch of bananas is too ripe for your liking, try repurposing the fruit. There are hundreds of recipes that call for overripe bananas. The Food Network's Canadian site lists 83 recipes on its website, including chocolate chip banana pancakes, a peanut butter and banana oatmeal smoothie, and slow cooker banana upside down cake.

Delta and Equinox Teamed Up to Create Jet Lag-Fighting Workouts

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iStock

When traveling across time zones, jet lag is practically unavoidable. The temporary condition disrupts your internal body clock, making you feel groggy and irritable.

Hitting the town once you land at your destination, let alone working out, may seem out of the question. However, exercise is one of the best things you can do for your jet-lagged body, and you'll feel much better afterward.

Delta Air Lines and Equinox Fitness have teamed up to create a series of equipment-free workouts that specifically target jet lag, according to Travel + Leisure. Three videos guide viewers through three rounds of exercise, each targeting a different region—upper body, lower body, and core.

Viewers can select one round (or more) and do each of the featured moves for one minute, then repeat each move two more times. If doing all three rounds, it would take about 30 minutes to complete the main portion of the workout. A cool-down video has also been created to take viewers through some guided stretches.

The workout is low-impact and aims to reduce stiffness and wake up your senses. It’s recommended that the workout be done 12 to 24 hours after landing.

"This is when your body is most vulnerable and susceptible to time zone changes, so working out in this time can resync your circadian rhythm, lower your cortisol levels, and impact circulation and mobility,” Equinox group fitness manager Dana McCaw tells Travel + Leisure.

The workout videos, which are posted on YouTube, can be watched below:

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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