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The Possession and Distribution of Various Types of Cerumen in Different Populations and its Possible Origination

Keesha Cunningham, Nikolay Sapundzhiev

Abstract

Introduction: The study was carried out to gain an insight into the distribution of different types of cerumen (ear wax) in different populations and to discuss the possible cause of origin for the discrepancy. It has already been established that majority of the Caucasian and African populations have the wet type of cerumen whereas majority of Asian population has the dry type due to a single-nucleotide polymorphism in the ABCC11 gene on chromosome 16.

Materials and Methods: A simple observation was carried out at the hospital with cerumen samples that had already been obtained from one group of individuals from Caucasian and African origin. Correspondingly, another group of individuals from Asian origin were simply enquired about the nature of cerumen possessed. Moreover, published literature was reviewed for possible suggestions of causes for developing wet and dry types.

Results: 8/10 samples obtained from Caucasian (Bulgarian) individuals and one African individual were observed to be wet whereas only 2/10 were dry. In contrast, only 3/10 Asian individuals claimed to possess wet cerumen and a majority of them 7/10 - dry.

Conclusion: The previously published data about the type of cerumen in different populations were further established by the investigation. Furthermore, a possible cause for the particular mutation was suggested by literature to be due to a result of positive selection that favoured the East Asian population to adapt to the cold environment that they formerly lived in. However, further studies could be carried out to determine any influence of wet or dry cerumen on earwax impaction and any impact it may have on different methods of treatment.


Keywords

cerumen, single-nucleotide polymorphism


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