Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Study suggests bald men are more susceptible to heart disease; I've heard this before

A British study found that men with male pattern baldness at the crown of the head (and not just a receding hairline or “widow’s peak”) are more likely to develop heart disease prematurely. 
James Gallagher has an article for the BBC here. The original dermatology article in BMJ Open is here
I can remember reading theories about baldness in newspapers back in the 1950s.  Sometime in the late 50s, there was a British study claiming that bald men have more chest hair than non-bald men, something that sounds only marginally correct.  And that study was done in a “segregated” world.
Some anthropologists say that the tendency for many men to lose scalp hair and (in many Caucasians) display more body hair, developed because (heterosexual)  women preferred men who looked for different from women.  A balding man was likely to be older and “mature” and “competent” enough to survive youth and young adulthood and be a responsible provider for children.
Nevertheless, the study supposes a connection between scalp hair loss and unusual sensitivity to testosterone, internal insulin resistance (diabetes), inflammation, and therefore  blood vessel and coronary artery deterioration.  Prostate cancer might appear earlier and become more aggressive.   The study didn’t say this in the article, but premature loss of leg hair would be a sign of deteriorating peripheral circulation.
The story was mentioned on NBC News tonight.

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