Feds Spent $22,500 on Conference on Balding

Conference theme: 'Reflect on hair follicle regeneration and rejuvenate our minds'

November 17, 2015

The National Institutes of Health spent $22,500 on a conference on balding.

The funding is going toward the 9th World Congress of Hair Research, a "comprehensive hair research meeting" in Miami that begins Wednesday.

"The congress will bring together hair biologists, dermatologists, cosmetic scientists and hair transplantation surgeons for a unique three and a half day comprehensive hair research meeting that will establish new directions for the research community both in the United States and internationally," according to a grant awarded by the agency.

The North American Hair Research Society received $22,500 to support the conference.

The theme of this year’s meeting is for experts to "reflect on hair follicle regeneration and rejuvenate our minds with new ideas and collaborations."

Spending toward the conference was first noted by Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), who highlighted the grant as an example of waste within the agency.

"Hair research is not uncommon for NIH and the National Science Foundation to fund," he said. "But usually that research falls in one of two more metritis categories, the study of hair for forensic identification purposes, or the study of inner-ear hair and how it contributes to hearing loss."

"But make no mistake the 9th World Congress is definitely about baldness," Paul said. "The theme this year’s conference is Reflect, Rejuvenate, and Regenerate, and includes sessions like, Growing Better Hair: Impacting Pre-Emergent Hair via Scalp Condition; Hair Dye; Hair Care; and Robotic Hair Transplants."

Paul also pointed out that hair loss treatment is a $3.5 billion industry and not in need of support from the taxpayers.

"So, aside from the obvious question, of why is the federal government funding a hair loss conference, one has to wonder if this funding was needed in the first place," Paul said.