By Syed Akbar Hyderabad: The cure for baldness now lies in goshala. Extract obtained fromcow's placenta or umbilical cord is capable of regrowing hair and treating baldness. Though hair loss or baldness is an irreversible process, certain hormones present in theplacenta of cow can work wonders by triggering hair growth on a bald head. Cow placentalextract is a natural and cheap equivalent to the chemical, minoxidil, which is now widelyused by hair experts. "The hormones and cytokins in cow's placenta promotes hair growth not only by elongatinghair shaft but also by increasing the number of hair follicles," points out Dr L Mira,one of the scientists involved in the research. According to Dr Mira, the extract of cow's placenta is also useful in other cosmeticapplications including whitening of the skin and increasing its tone and texture. Dr Mirais part of the Korean team of scientists, which carried out research on Indian cows ingoshalas. The discovery comes close on the heels of a finding by a team of German bacteriologistsinvolved in Indo-German joint research that cow's dung or gobar has actually beenprotecting Indians from outbreaks of Escherichia coli. The E coli strain present in cowand buffalo is more harmful than the strains that exist in human colon. Thanks to theircontact with gobar for thousands of years, Indians have developed immunity to E coli andthis explains why there have been no cases of E coli outbreaks in India's history. "German scientists are surprised and amused on visibly unhygienic conditions in certainparts of India, such as heaps of garbage, open drains etc., and apparently healthy peoplewith no institutionalised outbreaks of E coli. They find Indians could actually be immuneto the dangerous E coli strains," pointed out Dr Niyaz Ahmed, who leads the Indian sideof the Indo-German team. After German scientists went back to basics trying to find in cattle sheds the origin ofthe novel E coli strain, which caused havoc in Europe last month, the Korean team tookthe lead to discover medical uses of cow's placenta. The research was carried out on crude placental extract but the results were more thanencouraging. "If refinement is done, the placenta extract would be a good candidatemedicine for hair loss," the team noted. The research was carried out on rat model withsuccessful results. Further work is on to transpolate it on human beings. Cow's placenta contains many kinds of hormones and cytokines including epidermal growthfactor, fibroblast growth factor and corticotropin-releaseing hormone. Extracts fromthese substances may serve many of the medical needs in future, scientists believe.