In what must be the ultimate exercise in navel-gazing, an Austrian scientist has solved the mystery of belly button fluff
After three years of research, Georg Steinhauser, a chemist, has discovered a type of body hair that traps stray pieces of lint and draws them into the navel.
Dr Steinhauser made his discovery after studying 503 pieces of fluff from his own belly button.
Chemical analysis revealed the pieces of fluff were not made up of only cotton from clothing. Wrapped up in the lint were also flecks of dead skin, fat, sweat and dust.
Dr Steinhauser's observations showed that 'small pieces of fluff first form in the hair and then end up in the navel at the end of the day'.
Writing in the journal Medical Hypotheses, he said the scaly structure of the hair enhances the 'abrasion of minuscule fibres from the shirt' and directs the lint towards the belly button.
"The hair's scales act like a kind of barbed hooks," he said. "Abdominal hair often seems to grow in concentric circles around the navel."
"We hope we have been able to provide information for doctors when they are next confronted with the simple question of 'why some belly buttons collect so much lint and others do not'."
An earlier, Australian study of samples from 5,000 people concluded the typical carrier of navel fluff to be 'a slightly overweight middle-aged male with a hairy abdomen'.
Ahhh. Now I feel better knowing that. As a prime candidate for belly button lint, it behooves me to be far more knowledgeable about this dreaded condition. I hope y'all are equally relieved to know this valuable information, and know that medical researchers world wide are diligently exploring the causes and cures of significant maladies to further the human race. Sleep well tonight!
Aren't you glad I didn't post pictures?!?