As unbelievable as it may sound, scientists have recently found a link between ear canal hair and heart attacks.
The roots of the study go back to 1973, when the New England Journal of Medicine published the study of Dr. Sanders T. Frank and his team where they identify a diagonal earlobe crease, then nicknamed “Frank’s Sign,” as an indicator of coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD occurs as a result of plague buildup inside the arteries, which restricts normal blood flow.
The 1973 study was the scientists starting point. Then, in 1984, a group of New York doctors published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine where they proposed the same theory – the ear canal hair is strongly linked to coronary artery disease. A study that involved 43 men and 20 women, 90% of the participants who had both a diagonal earlobe crease (DELC) and ear canal hair experienced cardiac failure.
According to the scientists, including Richard F. Wagner of Boston University Medical School, it was long-term exposure to androgen, the most important male hormone next to testosterone, that led to clot formation in the arteries as a result of excessive production of red blood cells.
In 1989, 5 years later, the Indian Heart Journal published an abstract that summarized the results of a study investigating the link between earlobe creases, ear hair and coronary artery disease. The study involved 215 Indian patients. In the words of the authors, “A significant difference was also observed between men with and without CAD in the presence of ear-canal hair with age matched group.” They also found that ear hair prevalence advanced with age.
In June 2006, Edston E. published his study in the American Journal of Forensic Medical Pathology. What Edston did was scrutinize 520 autopsies in terms of BMI, spleen weight, ear hair, earlobe crease, cause of death, baldness, thickness of abdominal fat, and a number of other characteristics. “It was found that ELC (earlobe crease) was strongly correlated with CAD in both men and women (P < 0.0001) but with sudden cardiac death (SCD) only in men (P < 0.04).”
While some blame testosterone supplements as the major cause for ear canal hair and heart attacks, others think that this is a typical characteristic of the aging process and people die from a heart attack because of age or obesity, not because they have hair in their ear canal.