Baldness and myocardial infarction in men: The atherosclerosis risk in communities study

Eyal Shahar, Gerardo Heiss, Wayne D. Rosamond, Moyses Szklo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Because hair loss may be a surrogate measure of androgenic activity - possibly a determinant of coronary atherosclerosis - several studies have explored the presence and magnitude of an association between male pattern baldness and myocardial infarction (MI). In particular, vertex baldness, but not frontal baldness alone, was strongly associated with incident MI in a large, hospital-based, case-control study. The authors examined these associations in a cross-sectional sample of 5,056 men aged 52-75 years, of whom 767 had a history of MI. The sample was derived from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study (1987-1998). As compared with a baldness-free reference group, the estimated odds ratios for prevalent MI from a multivariable model were 1.28 (frontal baldness), 1.02 (mild vertex baldness), 1.40 (moderate vertex baldness), and 1.18 (severe vertex baldness). Other regression models have yielded similar results, including the absence of a monotonic "dose-response relation" between the extent of vertex baldness and prevalent MI. The authors also examined the relation of baldness pattern to carotid intimal-medial thickness, a measure of atherosclerosis, among those who were free of clinical cardiovascular disease. The estimated mean differences in carotid intimal-medial thickness between groups of men with various types of baldness and their baldness-free counterparts were all close to zero. The results of this study suggest that male pattern baldness is not a surrogate measure of an important risk factor for myocardial infarction or asymptomatic atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)676-683
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Alopecia
  • Carotid artery diseases
  • Myocardial infarction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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