This Nasty Habit Could Increase the Risk of Alzheimer's

Written by Henrik Rothen

Dec.17 - 2023 7:22 PM CET

This Nasty Habit Could Increase the Risk of Alzheimer's.

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According to Australian researchers, people who have the habit of picking their nose may expose themselves to a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease. This is reported by Journal des Femmes.

Alzheimer's is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nearly one million people in France, including 8% of those over 65 years old.

The prevalence of the disease is increasing over time. While the exact triggers and predisposing factors of the disease are not clearly established, research is progressing.

Recently, researchers from Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, published a study in the journal Scientific Reports, showing that nose picking, a seemingly benign action, could promote the development of late-onset dementia, also known as Alzheimer's disease in people over 65 years old.

Stop picking your nose and plucking your nose hairs

Specifically, picking the nose could damage nasal mucosa, opening the way for Chlamydia Pneumoniae, a pathogenic bacterium responsible for often benign respiratory infections (like sinusitis, pharyngitis, bronchitis) or more severe ones (like pneumonia), which directly attacks the central nervous system.

In response to this attack, brain cells start depositing beta-amyloid protein, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

'If you damage the nasal lining, you can increase the number of bacteria that can enter your brain. For instance, C. pneumoniae can travel up the nose and infect the olfactory and trigeminal nerves, the olfactory bulb, and the brain within 72 hours. C. pneumoniae infection also caused a dysregulation of key pathways involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease 7 and 28 days after inoculation,' the authors of the study wrote.

They suggest that olfactory tests might have potential as detectors of Alzheimer's disease.

To reach these conclusions, the researchers used mice into which they nasally inoculated Chlamydia Pneumoniae bacteria.

They then analyzed their brains after 1, 3, 7, and 28 days. 'We now need to conduct this study in humans and confirm if the same pathway works in the same way. What we do know is that these same bacteria are present in humans, but we have yet to understand how they get there,' conclude the authors, who have already planned the next phase of human research. In the meantime, researchers suggest that people take simple measures now to care for their nasal mucosa if they wish to potentially reduce their risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer's disease:

'Picking your nose and plucking your nose hairs is not a good idea as they risk damaging the inside of the nose,' they stated. The mucus secreted by healthy nasal mucosa acts as a biological filter and prevents microbes from entering the respiratory tract"

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