A study from 2022 has discovered that picking your nose might have some unexpected consequences. According to the research, there is a possible link between nose-picking and the likelihood of developing dementia. Apparently, when you damage the internal tissues of your nose by digging too deep, it makes it easier for critical bacteria to travel up to your brain, which leads to signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

But don’t start panicking just yet. The research was conducted on mice, so there’s no need to throw out your nose-picking tools just yet. Nevertheless, the findings are worth further investigation as they could improve our understanding of how Alzheimer’s disease develops.

Scientists from Griffith University in Australia led the study, which used a bacteria called Chlamydia pneumoniae, found in the majority of human brains affected by late-onset dementia. The bacteria can infect humans and cause pneumonia and, as it turns out, it can travel up the olfactory nerve and reach the brain. What’s more, if there is damage to the nasal epithelium, the thin tissue along the roof of the nasal cavity, nerve infections get worse.

The study showed that the mice’s brains deposited more of the amyloid-beta protein, which is released in response to infections when bacteria took hold in the central nervous system. Plaques of this protein are also found in significant concentrations in people with Alzheimer’s disease. However, it’s still uncertain whether the effects will be the same in humans, or even whether amyloid-beta plaques are a cause of Alzheimer’s.

So, before you start picking your nose, consider the potential consequences. After all, studies like this one suggest that picking your nose and plucking your nose hair might not be such a good idea because of the potential damage it does to protective nose tissue. And besides, who wants to risk ending up with dementia just because they couldn’t resist the urge to pick their nose?

Source: Nature.com