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Baldness: heart-risk marker.

Middle-aged men who lament the loss of their hair have another reason to worry: A new study links baldness with increased risk of heart attack.

Epiclemiologist Samuel M. Lesko of the Boston University School of Medicine and his colleagues studied 665 men age 21 to 54 who had been admitted to one of 35 hospitals after suffering their first heart attack. The authors also looked at ?72 male controls matched for age who had gone to the same hospitals but who did not suffer from heart disease.

The researchers rated each man's hair loss using a five-point scale. The team observed a higher frequency of vertex scalp baldness (hair lost from the top of the head) in the group of men who had suffered a heart attack.

Indeed, the group's statistical analysis revealed that men with top-of-thehead baldness faced a 40 percent greater risk of heart attack than men with a full head of hair. Men with the greatest vertex scalp baldness had the highest risk, Lesko says.

For men with a receding hairline, this study offers reassuring news: Men with frontal hair loss showed no increased heart attack threat, he adds.

The association between baldness and heart attacks remained after the researchers accounted for other risk factors, such as a family history of heart attack, smoking, and high blood pressure. The team published their findings in the Feb. 24 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION.

"Is baldness bad news for the heart?" asks an editorial written by Peter W.. E Wilson and William B. Kannel, both of the Framingham (Mass.) Heart Study. "It is premature to provide a verdict" they say Lesko agrees, noting that additional studies must confirm the link between baldness and heart attack risk.
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Title Annotation:baldness linked to risk of heart attack
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Feb 27, 1993
Words:288
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