Early balding may be associated with an increased risk of the rare but incurable disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, says study.
The link between the two conditions may provide a new direction in investigating the poorly understood neurodegenerative condition, the researchers said.
The researchers looked at more than 50,000 men ages 46 to 81, and asked them to recall the shape of their hairline at age 45, and choose from a series of pictures depicting no balding, moderate or extensive balding.
Nearly 44 percent of men reported no balding, about 42 percent of men reported moderate balding and 14 percent reported extensive balding at 45 years old.
Sixteen years later, 11 of 5,500 men who had reported extensive balding were diagnosed with ALS, while 13 of 17,500 men with no balding were affected by the disease, Fox News reported.
The researchers calculated that men with extensive early balding were about three times as likely to develop ALS, compared with men who hadn't lost hair early in life.
The researchers said their results should be interpreted cautiously until the link between early balding and ALS is confirmed in future studies.
The study is published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.