Of Morbid TV Shows and Wrinkly Foreheads

When I was about 4 years old I used to tell people my physician father “cures his patients.” Unfortunately, I had difficulty pronouncing the word, cure, and it sounded more like I was saying my dad “kills his patients.” My parents told me to stop saying that. At the time my dad was trying to build up his practice, and mispronouncing cure into kill didn’t help. I always think of this memory on Tuesday mornings when I start my hangover jog. I binge drink wine every Monday night, then jog in 90 degree heat the next morning, and I figure the exercise will “kill” or “cure” me. Most experts recommend not even going outside in this kind of heat, let alone running over 3 miles in it. I am 59 years old and probably suffer from high blood pressure, so this activity is by far the most hazardous part of my weekly routine. Nevertheless, it’s worth the risk for my psyche. I’d feel old, if I couldn’t do it, and I’d rather be dead than feel old.

I like to watch a television show on the Reelz network known as Autopsy: The Last Hours of… In each episode Michael Hunter examines the lifetime medical records of celebrities and determines exactly how they died. Some of his analysis is laughably unnecessary. For example Jerry Lewis had health problems throughout the later years of his life but lived to the age of 95. Just being the age of 95 should be reason enough for why he died. Frank Sinatra was another non-mystery. He drank a bottle of whiskey and smoked 2 packs of cigarettes every day for 50 years. It’s astonishing he lived to be 80. Other episodes do delve into more mysterious deaths. Luke Perry, star of Beverly Hills 90210, died of a stroke at the reasonably young age of 52. He was seemingly in good health–he exercised regularly and ate an healthy diet. Dr. Hunter did find 1 unexpected factor that may have contributed to his early demise. Perry had deep lines in his forehead, and an unpublished French study found people with deep lines on their forehead have an higher risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease.

Michael Hunter, host of the Reelz series Autopsy: the Last Hours Of. (Channel 238 on DirecTV) He examines the medical details of celebrity deaths.

Luke Perry died at the age of 52 from a stroke. Note the wrinkly forehead. An unpublished French study found people with deep wrinkles on their forehead had an higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

The Luke Perry episode set off alarm bells for me because I have noticed I have a wrinkly forehead. Soon after I watched this episode, I researched the study on the internet. The unpublished results of the study were discussed at a European Medical Symposium during 2018, and a press release was issued detailing the study. It was a 20 year study that looked at 3200 people who were 32, 42, 52, or 62 years old when the study began. Over this 20 year time span 233 of the subjects died. Of the subjects who died, 15% had deep forehead wrinkles, 6% had moderately wrinkled foreheads, and 2% had no wrinkles on their forehead. I immediately noticed the bad math. 15% + 6% +2% = 23%. What about the other 77%? I sent an email to the author of this study asking about this discrepancy but so far have gotten no response. None of the other news outlets that reported the press release mention this disparity. Sciencenewsdaily.com simply plagiarized the press release and repeated the bad math. Other news outlets skipped over it (they must have noticed but said nothing). It may be true that atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) shares a genetic pathway with wrinkly foreheads but until someone explains the goofy math, I’m not going to worry about it. Most of the subjects in the study who died were probably in their 70’s, close to the average life expectancy anyway. I can think of worse ways to die than from a sudden cardiac event. If I die jogging in 90 degree heat while hungover, so be it.

Reference:

Esquirol, Yolande

“Deep Forehead Wrinkles May Signal a Higher Risk for Cardiovascular Mortality”

European Society of Cardiology Press Release 2018

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One Response to “Of Morbid TV Shows and Wrinkly Foreheads”

  1. stephenfmccann Says:

    I’m near your age as well and now find only moderate consumption of alcohol leaves me in the dumps the day after. So, I’ve moderated consumption considerably in recent years. I do find, however, if I over consume and find myself with a hangover, sweating copiously in the heat is most restorative. I make sure to drink plenty of liquids, especially kombucha and Vitamin Water as well. Alas, just drinking the liquids doesn’t seem to do much. Unfortunately, my state still outlaws marijuana, a much less destructive diversion than alcohol.

    As for the forehead wrinkles, I wonder if it’s more correlation than causation. Someone under stress is more likely to engage in not only more facial scrunching, but also adopt unhealthy habits attempting to ease the stress, which could also have a negative effect on the skin.

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