Diagonal Ear Lobe Crease
It sounds like an April Fool’s joke and, right now, April 1st is not far away. The joke is that if your ear lobes looks like this …
… then you’re far more likely to succumb to stroke, coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis and cognitive impairment brought about by reduced arterial flow to the brain. Yeah, sure. Except those earlobes are mine and it’s no joke. More studies are confirming the link between DELC and the previously mentioned conditions.
A Japanese study concluded that DELC is a useful dermatological indicator of an accelerated ageing process, as suggested by excessive telomere loss. So let’s add accelerated ageing caused by short telomeres to the previous list. I only found out about the implications of DELC a few days ago after chancing upon an article that FlipBoard had served up. I’m still coming to terms with the discovery.
It’s not like finding out you have cancer and have only a few months to live. That would be disturbing but would be a definite and immediate threat. DELC promotes uncertainty and apprehension, promising nothing and yet threatening sudden demise via cardiac failure, permanent impairment via stroke or accelerated cognitive decline via reduced arterial flow to the brain.
As my 69th birthday draws nigh, I seem relatively healthy but DELC has been characterised in the medical literature as a surrogate marker which can identify high risk patients having occult atherosclerosis. So it’s effects are largely hidden except for the dead giveaway, the diagonally creased earlobe. Angiograms and brain scans are not likely to be approved by the free medical cover that I have, especially since I appear outwardly healthy. I wouldn’t want to undergo them anyway.
The fact that I don’t drink or smoke, am not overweight, walk a lot and follow a vegetarian diet must help to mitigate the severity of any occult atherosclerosis that might be at work. The following article discusses a grading system that is assigned to DELC:
Is there a grading system for the sign?
Yes, as it typical with many physical signs, observation is only the first step in accurate examination. When you find the sign, it has a grading system that has been linked to incidence of cardiovascular events based on length, depth, bilateralism, and inclination:
• Unilateral incomplete – least severe
• Unilateral complete
• Bilateral complete – most severe
Other classifications systems exist, but without the association with increased cardiovascular events:
• Grade 1 – wrinkling
• Grade 2a – superficial crease (floor of sulcus visible)
• Grade 2b – crease more than 50% across earlobe
• Grade 3 – deep cleft across whole earlobe (floor of sulcus not visible)
My DELC is bilateral (most severe according to the first system) but at least not Grade 3 according to the second system.