Nose Bacteria Points To Higher BMI In Men
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
In addition to being stigmatized as less attractive, overweight men tend to have more potentially pathogenic species of bacteria in their nose, compared to slimmer, more traditionally attractive men, according to a new study in the American Journal of Human Biology.
“According to an evolutionary point of view, traits related to attractiveness are supposed to be honest signals of biological quality,” said study author Boguslaw Pawlowski, from Department of Human Biology at the University of Wroclaw. “We analyzed whether nasal and throat colonization with potentially pathogenic bacteria is related to body height and BMI in both sexes.”
In the study, scientists gathered the self-reported heights and weights of more than 100 healthy females and 90 healthy males. The study team also assessed waist and hip circumferences. Next, six potentially pathogenic bacteria were isolated and identified from nasal and throat swabs.
The study results revealed that ‘colonized’ male participants had a greater BMI than ‘non-colonized’ men. A significant similar contrast was not identified in female participants.
“To our knowledge, this is the first attempt to study body morphology traits related to physical attractiveness in relation to bacterial colonization in young people,” Pawlowski said. “The results confirmed our hypothesis, but only for BMI in males.”
While researchers in Poland may have found a way to identify a man’s BMI by the cultures in his nose, a team of scientists based in Philadelphia has been able to show that a human ear wax sample provides clues to a person’s ethnic origins.
According to a new study published in Journal of Chromatography B, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that the amount of odor-producing chemical compounds in human earwax varied between individuals of East Asian origin and Caucasians.
Also known as cerumen, earwax is a blend of secretions from specialized sweat glands along with fatty materials secreted in the sebaceous glands. It usually comes in one of two forms: wet with a yellowish-brown hue, or dry and white.
According to study author George Preti, an organic chemist at the University of Pennsylvania, a small change in the ABCC11 gene is connected to both underarm odor production and if a person has dry or wet earwax. People of East Asian and Native American descent have a form of the gene which codes both for dry earwax and a decreased amount of underarm body odor compared to people of other ethnic groups, the researchers said.
“Our previous research has shown that underarm odors can convey a great deal of information about an individual, including personal identity, gender, sexual orientation, and health status,” Preti said.
In the earwax study, researchers gathered earwax from eight healthy Caucasian males and eight men of East Asian descent. Each sample was placed in a vial and heated for 30 minutes, which prompted the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which were analyzed using chromatography-mass spectrometry methods. The researchers found 12 VOCs that were in the earwax of all the men, yet Caucasians possessed greater amounts of 11 of the 12 VOCs than East Asians.
“In essence, we could obtain information about a person’s ethnicity simply by looking in his ears. While the types of odorants were similar, the amounts were very different,” explained lead author Katharine Prokop-Prigge, a chemist and postdoctoral fellow at the Monell Chemical Sense Center in Philadelphia.