UH-OH: Picking Your Nose MAY Give You Alzheimers – Here Comes The Science…

Feb 6, 2024

This is TERRIBLE NEWS for me (and everyone else on planet Earth – we all pick our noses).

A new study says people who pick their nose/pluck nose hairs too much are at risk of getting Alzheimer’s thanks to a derivative bacteria from the “Chlamydia” family.

So, finger-banging your nose too much might give you Alzheimer’s.


Source: Need another reason not to pick your nose or aggressively pluck hairs that can sprout in there? A new study in mice offers some preliminary evidence that these habits might indirectly help increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The mouse study, published in Scientific Reports, found that Chlamydia pneumoniae bacteria can easily travel along a nerve running from the nasal cavity into the brain to infect the central nervous system in mice. When these bacteria invade the brain, it’s associated with a key marker of Alzheimer’s disease — the development of what’s known as amyloid beta protein deposits.

“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 mouse experiments, researchers contaminated the nasal passages in two sets of mice with C. pneumoniae bacteria. One set of mice had skin damage inside their nasal passages, while the other set of mice had healthy tissue there.

Within 72 hours, C. pneumoniae traveled to the brain in both sets of mice, the study found. But the bacteria appeared to invade the brain more easily and quickly — within 24 hours — in the mice with damaged tissue inside their nasal passages.

This suggests that protecting the skin inside the nose from damage might be one way to help limit the transmission of bacteria to the brain, St John said.

“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.

Bad news for all my nose-pickers out there. If this study is accurate, the more you pick your nose, the more likely you are to jam Chlamydia Pneumoniae bacteria into your brain, where it causes plaque buildup, which leads to dementia and Alzheimer’s.

It makes sense that we touch about a billion different bacteria daily, mostly harmless. I’m not a sexual health expert, but there’s a better than 100 percent chance you touch objects infected with Chlamydia pneumoniae because humans are disgusting creatures who rarely wash their hands. There’s also a 100 percent chance you’ll stick that second-hand bacteria finger in your nose at some point.

After a long day at work, you can’t tell me you don’t clean out your nostrils in the privacy of your car during your commute home. There’s nothing better than getting that “whistler” or “flapper” that drove you crazy all day. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you might pull a nose hair out for the “twofer.”  But we are ALL picking our noses with bio-weapons if this study is accurate, and that’s NOT GOOD if you’re a dedicated nose picker like me. OR if you’re vigilant about plucking unsightly nose hair like me.

The Short Strokes:

  • Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, and it is thought that both environment and genetics play a part in its development.

  • Research suggests that pathogens may also contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s, but the pathways by which they enter the brain have, until recently, been unclear.

  • Study from Australia has found that one bacterium, Chlamydia pneumoniae, enters the brain via the olfactory nerve from the nose leading to the development of amyloid beta plaques which are characteristic of Alzheimer’s.

  • The authors suggest that nose-picking damages the nasal mucosa, making it easier for the bacteria to reach the olfactory nerve and enter the brain

Can’t read? Here’s a picture:

Blow your nose. It’s not as satisfying, but it might save your life. Maybe.



Dean Blundell

Dean Blundell is a Canadian radio personality. Best known as a longtime morning host on CFNY-FM (The Edge) in Toronto, Ontario. In 2015 he was named the new morning host on sports radio station CJCL (Sportsnet 590 The Fan). Dean started his career in radio in 2001 and for nearly 20 years been entertaining the radio audience. Dean’s newest venture is the launch of his site and podcast which is gaining tremendous momentum across North America.

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