How picking your nose could increase risk of Alzheimer’s

Don’t go digging for gold in your golden years.

Picking your nose may increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, new research has revealed.

According to scientists at Griffith University in Australia, the bacteria can travel through the olfactory nerves in the nasal cavity – routed through a pick – to reach the brain and create markers that are “a telltale sign of Alzheimer’s disease”.

Specifically, their study, published in Scientific Reports, observed bacteria Chlamydia pneumonia – a germ linked to respiratory infections including pneumonia – uses the olfactory nerve as an “invasion route to attack the central nervous system”. Brain cells then responded to the attack by depositing amyloid beta protein, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Picking your nose may be linked to dementia, new research finds.
Picking your nose may be linked to dementia, new research finds.
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“We were the first to show it Chlamydia pneumonia It can travel through the nose and directly into the brain, which can cause Alzheimer’s-like pathology,” said study co-author and Professor James St. John, head of the Clem Jones Center for Neurobiology and Stem Cell Research, in a press release.

While the study was conducted on mice, St. John said, “the evidence can scare people, too.”

According to the researchers, the olfactory nerve acts as a highway for bacteria to reach the brain as it bypasses the blood-brain barrier. Their next research aim is to prove that the same pathway exists in humans, they said.

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“We need to study this in humans and confirm whether the same pathway works in the same way. It’s a research that has been proposed by many but has yet to be completed,” St. John said.

Scientific research has looked at links between nose picking and dementia.
Scientific research has looked at links between nose picking and dementia.
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“What we do know is that these bacteria exist in humans, but we haven’t figured out how they get there.”

Loss of smell may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, St. John and his team noted, and suggest smell tests for people age 60 and older as an early detector.

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“Once you’re over 65, your risk factor goes up, but we’re also looking at other causes because it’s not just age – it’s also environmental exposure. And we think bacteria and viruses are critical.”

Harmful bacteria can reach your brain by picking your nose, new research has found.
Harmful bacteria can reach your brain by picking your nose, new research has found.
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The professor also gave valuable guidance on how to protect yourself from nose-picking-related nerves.

“It’s not a good idea to pick your nose and pull hair from your nose … We don’t want to damage the inside of our nose and picking can do that.

“If you damage the lining of the nose, you can increase how much bacteria can get into your brain.”

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