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Earlobe crease hints at heart disease

Earlobe crease hints at heart disease – diagonal creases indicate a higher risk

Look in the mirror. If your earlobes bear diagonal creases, you could run a higher risk of developing heart disease, according to results from an eight-year-long prospective study of more than 100 men and women.

Since 1958, anecdotal evidence had suggested a link between ear creases and heart-disease risk. William Elliott, a University of Chicago physician, decided to investigate the connection in 27 groups of people. Each group included two pairs of individuals matched for age, sex and race: one pair with established coronoary heart disease and another pair of apparently healthy people. A single member of each such pair also bore creased earlobes.

After eight years, a significantly greater number of people with ear creases had died of heart disease, whethery or not they were known to have heart disease at the start of the study. The link between earlobe creases and heart disease remains unclear, says Elliott, who reported his findings last week in Seattle at a meeting of the American Federation for Clinical Research. However, it could have something do with similarities between arteries that supply blood to the ear and those that supply it to the heart, he speculates. Elliott encourages other physicians to monitor patients with earlobe creases more carefully for symptoms of heart disease.

But Albert Oberman of the University of Alabama in Birmingham, who serves as chairman of epidemiology for the American Heart Association, remains skeptical. He argues that since “there are also several studies which have found no relationship” between earlobe creases and heart disease, this medical curiosity “awaits further corroboration.”

COPYRIGHT 1991 Science Service, Inc.

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