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  • What is this stuff?

  • Cheerio mates, Trace ear for DNews. Earwax is weird and gross, it's basically congealed ear sweat.

  • There are two kinds of sweat: most is the cooling watery kind, but some is the thicker smellier kind-- which shows up in the armpit and ear and a few other places.

  • Earwax isn't really wax, it's mostly dead skin cells, proteins and oils added by the apocrine gland.

  • The junk is there to protect the inner ear from water or infection and also to stop footholds of bacteria from entering your body.

  • Earwax fights off some diseases and can lubricate and protect the ear from infection and water.

  • It's a pretty common system of protection in mammals. The wax builds up over time, and

  • in some species can reveal a lot about their past. Late last year, researchers at Baylor University

  • used the earwax of a blue whale to reveal when it went through puberty, which years it was able to find a lot of food,

  • and when pollutants like mercury were introduced to the whale's environment.

  • Whale earwax isn't quite the same as human earwax, but based on studies like this, current research is exploring what earwax can teach us!

  • This week, a study of human cerumen -- the medical term for earwax -- dove into the stuff nose first

  • and found the smell of your earwax can give away your ancestry!

  • Caucasian human earwax smells stronger than East Asian or Native Americans humans!

  • Research published in the Journal of Chromatography B explored the ABCC11 gene, which affects sweat, and

  • thus earwax, in humans. The type commonly found in Caucasians creates a stickier earwax

  • and more stinky body odor, while the type in East Asians creates a dryer, flakier earwax and usually less stinky body odor.

  • It's not that the odors themselves are that different, it's the volatile compounds in the earwax are in different amounts.

  • Volatile compounds are the tiny particles we sense when we smell something.

  • Knowing this, scientists can use earwax, not only to tell ethnicity, but in the future

  • they're going to try to follow those researching the whale wax and see what secrets your ear wax holds.

  • There are diseases which leave traces in ear wax once they appear in the body.

  • It might even catalog what you've eaten, or where you've been, based on molecules that get trapped in there! Doctors of the future might be

  • able to diagnose a possible immune system invader, or health risk, all of just with a digital sniff of your earwax...

  • Now, your cerumen is protecting you from infection, lubricating your ears, and keeping a health record for your doctor,

  • but even knowing ALL THAT, there are those of you who will totally want to get rid of it.

  • Firstly, don't use a cotton swab. Not in the EAR CANAL. Outer ear? Sure! Knock yourself out.

  • Inner ear? NO WAY! Sometimes, when you poke around in there with cotton swabs,

  • you're actually INCREASING the amount of earwax buildup, you're mushing it together and causing blockages!

  • Stop it! Oh, and ear candling is silly and gross. Studies show it doesn't even work and it's not recommended.

  • If you REALLY do want to get rid of it, talk to a pharmacist or a doctor. They've got drops you can buy.

  • But why would you want to get rid of this stuff? It's great! Did we change your opinion on earwax?

  • Tell us on below in the comments and subscribe for more videos seven days a week. Hit me up on Twitter @trace501 if you have any questions for me, and we will see you around!

What is this stuff?

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B1 US earwax wax whale body odor sweat infection

Why Do We Need Earwax?

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    羅紹桀 posted on 2015/11/26
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