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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 1998 Sep;53(5):M347-50.

Longevity and gray hair, baldness, facial wrinkles, and arcus senilis in 13,000 men and women: the Copenhagen City Heart Study.

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Epidemiological Research Unit, National University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.



We have previously reported that men who look older than their contemporaries have a significantly higher risk for myocardial infarction. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether persons with pronounced aging signs such as graying of hair, baldness, or facial wrinkles are prone to a shorter life span compared to their contemporaries.


In the Copenhagen City Heart Study comprising a random sample of 20,000 men and women, we also recorded, in addition to cardiovascular risk factors, data on signs of aging: extent of gray hair, baldness, facial wrinkles, and arcus senilis (corneal arcus). During 16 years of follow-up, 3,939 persons (1,656 women and 2,283 men) had died. The Cox regression model for proportional hazards, which included age as an explanatory variable, was used for descriptive analysis of the correlation between these aging signs and all-cause mortality.


We found no correlation between the mortality and the extent of graying of the hair, or baldness or facial wrinkles in either of the sexes, irrespective of age. A single exception was observed in a small subgroup of men with no gray hair. They had a slightly, but significantly, lower mortality than the rest [relative risk (RR) = .81, 95% confidence interval (CI) .67-.98; p < .05]. The presence of arcus senilis was significantly correlated with a shorter life span in women (RR = 1.25, 95% CI 1.08-1.46; p < .01). For men the same tendency was found, but the correlation was not statistically significant.


We conclude that the degrees of graying of the hair, baldness, and facial wrinkles are not predictive of a shorter life span in men and women in the Copenhagen City Heart Study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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