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Balding Men at Higher Risk for COVID-19

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J.Adderton has 27 years experience as a BSN, MSN .

7 Followers; 129 Articles; 35,079 Profile Views; 408 Posts

Are balding men at higher risk for COVID-19 complications?  

A new study supports a link between male hormones and the severity of COVID-19 symptoms.  Keep reading to learn how the study results may help shape future coronavirus treatments.

Balding Men at Higher Risk for COVID-19
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Coronavirus data coming around from around the globe confirm that males are more likely to be hospitalized with the virus. In general, researchers have found the more male hormones (androgens) a person has, the easier it is for SARS-CoV-2 to enter the body. In a recent letter appearing in the American Academy of Dermatology, a group of researchers presented additional evidence that male hormone sensitivity may be associated with severe COVID-19 symptoms leading up to hospitalization.  

Risk Higher for Men

Research has shown men to be more vulnerable than women to COVID-19.  While the prevalence between men and women is similar, men are twice as likely to die of the virus.  A small retrospective study, published in PLOS Pathogens, found that older men with underlying diseases are more likely to contract COVID-10 and have poorer outcomes than women.

Link to Baldness

Male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia (AGA), affects more than 50% of all men by the age of 50.  Genetics and androgenic hormones, such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) play a major role in AGA.  In men who are balding, these hormone levels are present in the body at a higher level.

Study Method

The study was led by Dr. CG Wambier, a researcher at Brown University and was conducted from March 23, 2020, to April 12, 2020.  The study pulled data from 122 male COVID-19 patients admitted to three tertiary hospitals in Madrid, Spain.  

Study Participants

The participants were randomly examined by dermatologists and assessed for alopecia using the Hamilton-Norwood scale. The dermatologists were assisting with the overwhelming amount of hospital admissions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

What They found

The researchers found androgenetic alopecia (AGA) to be present in 79% of male COVID-19 patients, with a median age of 62.5.  

It was concluded that a substantial amount of patients hospitalized for severe COVID-19 have AGA.  Lead author, Dr. C. Wambier, told The Telegraph, “We think androgens or male hormones are definitely the gateway for the virus to enter our cells. We really think baldness is a perfect predictor of severity.”

The "Gabrin" Sign"

In Dr. Wambier’s letter to the American Academy of Dermatology, he proposes the term “Gabrin sign” be used to visually identify patients at higher risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms.  Dr. Frank Gabrin, a New York doctor, became the first U.S. ER physician to die from coronavirus.  He was also balding.

A New Treatment Direction

The possibility that androgens are linked to COVID-19 raises the question “could anti-androgens effectively prevent and treat COVID-19?”  Anti-androgens have already been approved for the treatment of other conditions, such as baldness and some cancers.  In Italy, a study of men hospitalized with COVID-19 found the rate of infection was 4X lower in prostate cancer patients being treated with androgen deprivation therapy than in untreated cancer patients.  Several androgen-suppressing drugs are already in clinical trials to see if they lower the risk of COVID-19 complications among men.  However, more research is needed to support the use of these drugs in the treatment of coronavirus.

References

 

J. Adderton MSN has over 20 years experience in clinical leadership, staff development, project management and nursing education.

7 Followers; 129 Articles; 35,079 Profile Views; 408 Posts

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2 Followers; 1,069 Posts; 6,808 Profile Views

They find out something new about this virus every week!

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Nurse SMS has 9 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

7 Followers; 6,413 Posts; 49,977 Profile Views

Interesting.

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simba and mufasa has 16 years experience.

2 Articles; 26 Posts; 154 Profile Views

Hi

COVID-19 is teaching us a lot. I work with a balding nurse and he told me about the link between baldness and the virus and I thought it was a joke. Very interesting study. 

Thank you

 

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Emergent has 25 years experience.

9 Followers; 2 Articles; 3,189 Posts; 69,163 Profile Views

Anti-androgens for men sounds like less fun times between the sheets...😬

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scribblz has 13 years experience as a BSN, CNA, LPN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, Geriatrics, home infusion.

113 Posts; 1,936 Profile Views

As if it wasn't already rough to be balding...low blow 'Rona 🙄

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Mywords1 specializes in nursing ethics.

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On the surface, this looks like a coincidence between these 2 factors.  Nothing more. You really cannot generalize from 122 men in Europe to all men, especially not necessarily to other races. I bet you could find other coincidences between COVID and men. Maybe they have a similar blood type or something else. Be skeptical!

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