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The Link Between Nose Picking and Alzheimer’s Disease: What You Need to Know

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As we age, our bodies undergo various changes, and our health becomes a top priority. One health concern that has recently caught the attention of scientists is the link between nose picking and Alzheimer’s disease. While it may seem like an unusual connection, several studies have found compelling evidence suggesting that frequent nose picking could increase the risk of developing this neurodegenerative condition. In this article, we will explore the research behind this link and discuss the potential mechanisms involved. So, let’s dive in and uncover what you need to know about nose picking and Alzheimer’s disease.

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease

Before we delve into the connection between nose picking and Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important to have a basic understanding of this condition. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that primarily affects older adults. It is characterized by memory loss, cognitive decline, and behavioral changes that ultimately interfere with daily life. The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is still unknown, but researchers have identified several factors that contribute to its development.

Over the years, numerous studies have investigated the potential relationship between nose picking and Alzheimer’s disease. While the idea may seem far-fetched at first, the research has uncovered some intriguing findings. A review of published studies conducted by researchers at Western Sydney University revealed compelling evidence that frequent nose picking could increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers proposed that neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s disease may be partially caused by viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens entering the brain through the nose and olfactory system.

Chronic Nose Picking and Rhinotillexomania

Chronic nose picking, known medically as rhinotillexomania, is a condition characterized by compulsive or habitual picking of the nose. Individuals with rhinotillexomania often introduce germs into the sensitive nasal cavity, leading to inflammation in the brain. This chronic inflammation has been linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. It is estimated that over 6 million people are currently living with this neurodegenerative condition, with the majority being individuals aged 65 and older.

The Role of Inflammation and Tau Protein

In the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, researchers have observed an accumulation of a protein called tau. This protein is associated with the body’s immune response and is believed to play a role in the development of the disease. When immune cells are repeatedly triggered by invasions, such as pathogens entering the brain through the nose, the resulting inflammation can lead to various diseases. The buildup of tau protein is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting a potential link between chronic nose picking, inflammation, and the development of neurodegenerative conditions.

Hidden Infections and Harmful Plaques

Infections caused by pathogens entering the brain through the nose can often go unnoticed, as they may not exhibit external symptoms. However, these hidden infections can cause inflammation beneath the surface, leaving behind harmful plaques of protein. These protein plaques contribute to the development of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s. Researchers have identified a variety of common pathogens in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s, such as bacteria causing pneumonia, the herpes virus, the coronavirus, and the cat-derived parasite Toxoplasma gondii.

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Prevention and Hand Hygiene

While the link between nose picking and Alzheimer’s disease is still being explored, researchers urge individuals to refrain from putting their fingers in their noses. If nose picking is unavoidable, thorough hand hygiene, including washing hands with soap and water before and after, is strongly recommended. By practicing good hand hygiene, individuals can reduce the risk of introducing harmful pathogens into the nasal cavity and potentially lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.


As we continue to unravel the mysteries of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers are uncovering intriguing connections between various factors and the development of this neurodegenerative condition. The link between nose picking and Alzheimer’s disease, while surprising, highlights the potential role of chronic inflammation and hidden infections in the brain. While more research is needed to fully understand this relationship, practicing good hand hygiene and refraining from nose picking may be simple yet effective steps in reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Stay informed, take care of your health, and consult with healthcare professionals for personalized advice and guidance.


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