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Don't Blame Testosterone for Aggression

Angry, Hostile Men Don't Have Extra Sex Hormone
WebMD Health News

Nov. 11, 2003 -- Angry, hostile men aren't suffering from excess testosterone, research shows.

They do suffer, however. It's well known that men who indulge in aggressive behavior are more likely to have heart disease and strokes. Why?

It's not because they have abnormal testosterone levels, find Maciej Tomaszewski, of the Medical University of Silesia in Zabrze, Poland, and colleagues. Tomaszewski's team analyzed physical and psychological data on 933 young, apparently healthy men.

The angriest men tended to be the most overweight. The most hostile men tended to have the lowest levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. Overall, the young men with a cluster of risks factors for diabetes and heart disease tended to be the most aggressive.

Testosterone had nothing to do with it. The most angry and hostile men had sex-hormone levels similar to those seen in the least aggressive men.

"Men with clustering of metabolic risk factors ... had significantly higher scores of total aggression than subjects with the opposite combination of body-mass index and HDL despite similar testosterone levels," Tomaszewski and colleagues write in the abstract of their presentation to this week's Scientific Sessions 2003 of the American Heart Association.

In plain language: Bullies tend to be overweight or obese -- and they are at risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

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