Study Finds That Balding Men Have A Higher Risk Of Developing COVID-19 Severity Upon Infection With The SARS-CoV-2 Virus!
: A new study by researchers from Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre-Pakistan, Dr DY Patil Medical College-India University and Medical Center Mainz-Germany has found that individuals especially males who are bald or who are balding have a higher risk of developing disease severity upon infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus or any of its variants.
The study found a correlation between androgenetic alopecia (AGA) and the higher risk of severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Androgenetic alopecia is a common form of hair loss in both men and women. In men, this condition is also known as male-pattern baldness. Hair is lost in a well-defined pattern, beginning above both temples. Over time, the hairline recedes to form a characteristic "M" shape. It's characterized by a receding hairline and gradual disappearance of hair from the crown and frontal scalp. Women with this condition, called female pattern baldness, don't experience noticeable thinning until their 40s or later. Women experience a general thinning over the entire scalp, with the most extensive hair loss at the crown.
A variety of genetic and environmental factors likely play a role in causing androgenetic alopecia. It has also been determined that this form of hair loss is related to hormones called androgens, particularly an androgen called dihydrotestosterone. Androgens are important for normal male sexual development before birth and during puberty. Androgens also have other important functions in both males and females, such as regulating hair growth and sex drive.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jocd.14683
The observational study involved a total of 300 hospitalized patients of COVID-19. Scoring of androgenetic alopecia or AGA was done, and severity of COVID-19 was measured as better and worse hospital outcomes. Correlation between severity of AGA and severity of COVID-19 was noted.
Out of 300 patients, 220 (73.33%) were male and 80 (26.67%) were female. In males, mild-to-moderate Hamilton-Norwood scale (HNS<3) and severe alopecia (HNS3-7) were noted among 43(20%) and 177(80.55%) patients, respectively. In females, 43(54%) had no AGA while 37(46%) had AGA. In 37 females with AGA, mild-to-moderate (Ludwig scale <2) and severe alopecia (Ludwig scale 2–3) were seen in 9(24.32%) and 28(75.68%) patients, respectively.
Alarmingly, the COVID-19 Research
findings found a significant increase in frequency (95%) and severity of AGA and worse outcomes in males (p-value 0.000, chi-square: 18.90) compared with females (46%) (p-value 0.273, chi-square: 7.544), with notable adverse COVID-19 disease outcomes in the younger age group of men and also in few women of younger age group suffering from AGA without any comorbidities.
The study findings show a significant increase in frequency and severity of AGA and worse outcomes in men compared with women. There was a significant association between AGA severity and hospital disease outcome in men compared with women. Younger age group pati
ents with severe AGA particularly men also faced adverse outcomes while having no known comorbidities, supporting the hypothesis that anti-androgen drugs might be valuable in patients of COVID-19.
The study team commented, “There were increased frequency and severity of AGA noted in male compared with female hospitalized with COVID-19. We report a significant association between AGA and disease outcome in men while in women, no significant association was noted. Middle-aged men with AGA without comorbidities were found to have worse outcome. It is remarkable that worse outcomes like prolonged need of ventilator or mortalities were significantly noted in the younger age group, particularly in men, while such vulnerability was also noted in women of younger age group without any comorbidities, supporting the hypothesis that AGA is a risk factor for severe outcomes in COVID-19, leading to support the usage of anti-androgen therapies to treat fatal COVID-19 infections, which are currently under clinical trials and have produced promising results.”
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