Picking your nose may increase risk of dementia, says bombshell medical study

Picking your nose may increase your risk of dementia, a new bombshell medical study has revealed.

The study, conducted at Griffith University in Australia, showed that damaging the insides of nostrils can see bacteria seep into the blood and travel directly to the brain.

Mechanisms to prevent the bacteria from entering the brain, like hairs and mucus in the nose, serve as a natural barrier.

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However, when a person picks their nose they remove some of those natural defences.

Researchers looked at what happens when the nerve that connects the nose to the brain is exposed to Chlamydia pneumoniae, a normally harmless bug that causes sinus issues.

Using mice the study found detectable levels of the bacteria in the brain within 72 hours, and within a month the rodents developed clumps of a protein plaque linked to Alzheimer's, a disease.

In the UK, over 900,000 people have a confirmed case of dementia – of which Alzheimer's is the most common type.

Lead study author Professor James St John, from the university said: "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.

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"We saw this happen in a mouse model, and the evidence is potentially scary for humans as well."

The team at Griffith University exposed the rodents to Chlamydia pneumoniae through their olfactory canal – the fastest pathway for invaders, between the brain and nose.

Highly deadly brain eating amoeba, among other dangerous bacteria, also enter the body and cause harm through this pathway.

Mice were chosen for the research because their olfactory system functions and is structured similarly to that of humans.

Chlamydia pneumoniae is a common bacteria that causes pneumonia, sore throats, ear infectious, sinusitis and other sinus related issues when a person is infected.

Professor St John added: "Picking your nose and plucking the hairs from your nose are not a good idea.

"We don't want to damage the inside of our nose and picking and plucking can do that.

"If you damage the lining of the nose, you can increase how many bacteria can go up into your brain."

Professor St John said his team "need to do this study in humans and confirm whether the same pathway operates in the same way."


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