Reader Perspectives - 12/28/20

Responses and comments from my readers…I do receive periodic replies from the many readers of the blog. While I have often responded individually, I decided that I should share more transparently. Hopefully, this contributes to an ongoing dialogue… 

Comment on “Balding Men”Kevin – In the article referenced as "Balding Men at Higher Covid-19 Risk", the authors mention that they also looked at age as a possible factor. In general, there is a higher population of balding men amongst the elderly. The article did not state that age-adjustment was performed, and I remain unconvinced that the conclusion is more than a mere artifact. I recall the once famous ear-wrinkle telltale sign for heart disease. Do you have any additional insight into their methodology? Thank you, Jonathan

Oh, To Be A Man – Several weeks ago, I reported on the suggestion that the degree of male baldness was a predictor of admission to the hospital. One of the questions I got was whether the cohort had been aged adjusted (SEE above note). It’s unclear. However, the day following, I noticed this release that male patients with COVID-19 have a higher likelihood of requiring intensive care admission than female patients. The details are listed in a study published in the journal Nature Communications. The study evolved when at the early point of the coronavirus pandemic, hospital medics and health professionals started noticing that COVID-19 seemingly hit men more aggressively than women. The researchers then conducted a global analysis of over 3 million COVID-19 cases from January–June, 2020. In that cohort, men exhibited 3X the admission rate to the ICU compared to women plus they were 1.4X more likely to die from COVID-19 despite the fact that the cohort consisted of an equivalent number of men and women who were infected. So, perhaps it was not the loss of hair so much as the degree of maleness that men exhibited. 

So, Jonathan, I agree! I thought it was an interesting article especially after I took a look in the mirror that morning when I was writing the blog and noticed that the quantity of hair covering my front scalp had diminished somewhat over the last several years. I let emotion take over from factual presentation of the results. It’s a good lesson for other fronts…

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