discoveries magazine

Heart Health and a Haircut

A haircut can make a guy feel like a new man—and, thanks to Cedars-Sinai investigators, maybe even save his life. A groundbreaking study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that African- American men successfully lowered their blood pressure to healthy levels when aided by a pharmacist and their barber.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of premature disability and death among African-American men, who see doctors less frequently than African-American women. Ronald G. Victor, MD, associate director of the Smidt Heart Institute and the study’s lead author, has long regarded community outreach as an answer.

“When we provide convenient, rigorous medical care to African-American men by coming to them, blood pressure can be controlled and lives can be saved,” says Victor, the Burns and Allen Chair in Cardiology Research.

The study included 319 African-American men recruited from 52 barbershops throughout Los Angeles.

A second phase of the research seeks to determine if the benefits can be sustained longer term.