By: April Carson
Chlamydia pneumoniae was found to Use the nasal cavity-brain nerve as an invasion path to enter the central nervous system, according to a study published in the journal Scientific Reports. The cells in the brain then responded by depositing amyloid beta protein which is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
The world's first research of its kind was co-authored by Professor James St John, Head of the Clem Jones Center for Neurobiology and Stem Cell Research.
"We have found, for the first time, that a common bacteria which infects the nose can travel to the brain where it causes an immune response leading to inflammation and deposition of the protein amyloid beta," said St John.
According to Professor St. John, Chlamydia pneumoniae can travel up noses and into brains, which then sets off Alzheimer's disease-like pathologies. This has been seen in mice so far, but there is potential for this to occur in humans as well.
The olfactory nerve is located in the nose and is directly exposed to air. This offers a short pathway to the brain, which bypasses the blood-brain barrier. Viruses and bacteria have found this route into the brain as it is an easy one.
The next phase of research at the Center will revolve around trying to establish if this pathway exists in humans as well. If it does, it could be a way to prevent or treat Alzheimer's disease.
"Although other researchers have proposed this same study, it hasn't been completed yet. We do know that the bacteria present in humans are there for a reason, but we're not sure how they got there initially. conducted on animals can help us better understand what's happening."
To lower your risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer's disease, Professor St John suggests taking some easy steps to care for the lining of your nose.
“Avoid picking your nose or plucking the hairs from it,” he said.
“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, more bacteria could potentially go up into your brain as a result.”
While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer's disease, Professor St John believes that by understanding the role of bacteria in the development of the disease, we may be able to develop treatments to target them.
Professor St. John believes that smell tests may also help in the early detection of Alzheimer's and dementia, as a loss of sense of smell is typically one of the first indicators. He recommends conducting such tests on individuals starting at age 60.
While more research is needed to confirm the link between nose picking and Alzheimer's, Professor St John's findings offer a new potential area of focus in the search for a cure for this devastating disease.
According to the studies, once an individual hits 65 years old, their risk level immediately skyrockets. However, we are also taking environmental factors into consideration because it's not merely age that plays a role—it could be anything from bacteria and viruses exposure.
"We know that if you have a strong immune system, you're less likely to get Alzheimer's," Professor St. John said. "But we also know that if you have a lot of inflammation in your body, that's linked to an increased risk as well."
So while we can't completely rule out age as a factor, it seems as though there are other elements at play. And until more research is conducted, the jury is still out on exactly how picking your nose could lead to developing Alzheimer's and dementia.
The study will be published in the journal Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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