Study says ear wax could provide health info
Through the examination of ear wax, doctors may be able to gain insight into a patient’s health, according to new research.
Scientists from Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, Penn. collected ear wax from 16 men, half of whom were white and the other half being of East Asian descent. The ear wax was heated in vials for 30 minutes, after which they began to produce odorous molecules called “volatile organic compounds” (VOCs). The researchers found that the white men had greater amounts of VOCs in their ear wax than did the East Asian men. They said the reason for this may be because people of East Asian descent have a certain form of a gene called ABCC11 that is linked to relatively dry ear wax, as well as less underarm body odor.
Studying odorous molecules in ear wax may be beneficial in that certain odor-producing diseases can be identified in ear wax, including maple syrup urine disease and alkaptonuria. Researchers from the Monell Center said they plan on conducting further studies to determine whether analyzing ear wax could be a more beneficial way to detect diseases than traditional tests, such as analysis of blood or urine.