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Why picking your nose may increase your risk of Alzheimer's Disease

09/11/2022

Why picking your nose may increase your risk of Alzheimer's Disease

If you're one of those people who picks their nose, or aggressively plucks any hairs you find there, new research may provide you with a reason to stop.


According to a study in mice, the results of which are published in Scientific Reports, such habits as those outlined above may increase your risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease. That's because Chlamydia pneumoniae bacteria can easily travel along a nerve running from the nasal cavity into the brain. From there, the bacteria were seen to infect the mice's central nervous system. When the bacteria invade the brain, they display a key marker of Alzheimer’s disease.


“We’re the first to show that Chlamydia pneumoniae can go directly up the nose and into the brain, where it can set off pathologies that look like Alzheimer’s disease,” study coauthor James St John, PhD, head of the Clem Jones Centre for Neurobiology and Stem Cell Research at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, said in a statement.


“We saw this happen in a mouse model, and the evidence is potentially scary for humans as well,” Dr. St John said.


In the mouse studies, the Chlamydia pneumoniae bacteria were found to have traveled to the mice's brains within 72 hours, but this was witnessed to be even faster among mice whose nasal passages were damaged.


“Picking your nose [or] plucking the hairs from your nose is not a good idea,” St John said. “We don’t want to damage the inside of our nose, and picking and plucking can do that.

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