Can Picking Your Nose Increase Your Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease? Australian Researchers Find a Surprising Link

2023-12-17 14:30:12

According to Australian researchers, people who have the habit of picking their noses are at risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease which affects nearly 1 million people in France, including 8% of over 65s. And the prevalence only increases over time. However, the way in which the disease is triggered as well as its predisposing factors are not clearly established. Research on this subject is progressing. Recently, researchers from Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia published a study in the journal Scientific Reports in which they show that pick your nosea rather banal gesture, could promote the development oflate-onset dementia. Also called “late-onset Alzheimer’s disease”, it is the most common form of the disease in over 65 years old.

The bacteria can travel up the nose and infect the brain within 72 hours

Concretely, picking one’s nose would damage the nasal mucous membraneswhich would pave the way for Chlamydia Pneumoniaea pathogenic bacteria responsible for often mild respiratory infections (sinusitis, pharyngitis, bronchitis) or more serious (pneumonia) which directly attacks the central nervous system. Faced with this attack, brain cells react by depositing a protein (beta-amyloid protein) characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. “If you damage the lining of your nose, you can increase the number of bacteria that can enter your brain. […] For example, C. pneumoniae can travel up the nose and infect the olfactory and trigeminal nervesthe olfactory bulb and the brain in 72 hours. C. pneumoniae infection also led to dysregulation of key pathways involved in Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis 7 and 28 days after inoculation” write the authors of the study. Olfactory tests could then have potential as Alzheimer’s disease detectorsthey suggest.

Pulling out your nose hairs isn’t a good idea either.

To achieve this result, the researchers used mice to whom they inoculated the bacteria Chlamydia Pneumoniae nasally. They then analyzed their brains after 1, 3, 7 and 28 days. “We must now carry out this study in humans and confirm if the same channel works in the same way. What we do know is that these same bacteria are present in humans, but we haven’t yet figured out how they get there.“, conclude the authors who have already planned the next phase of research in humans. In the meantime, researchers suggest people take a few simple steps now to take care of the lining of their nose if they want to reduce their risk of potentially developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease: “Picking your nose and pulling out your nose hairs is not a good idea because they may damage the inside of your nose“, they said. The mucus secreted by a healthy nasal mucosa serves as biological filter and prevents microbes from entering the respiratory tract.

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