Do you play football, soccer, or any other contact sport? Do you pick your nose? According to John Morley, Professor of Gerontology at St. Louis University’s Medical School, some of these activities could seriously affect the brain. Something as small as picking your nose, or even playing contact sports, can increase you risk of developing Alzheimer’s, Morley told participants at the St. Louis Science Center’s SciFest 2009 in October.
Research has shown that taking hard hits to the head—for example, heading a soccer ball or getting tackled in football—can cause major brain damage and or head trauma that can lead to many other side effects, says Morley. Effects can include dizziness, headaches, confusion, amnesia, loss of consciousness, and the inability to perform to potential during the following school year, according to sportsinjurybulletin.com. There is data emerging, indicating that men that play in the National Football League, are much more likely to Alzheimer’s and dementia, Morley told SciJourner.
Alzheimer’s disease is a fatal brain disease that 5.3 million Americans are living with today and the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s destroys brain cells, causing memory loss and problems with thinking and behavior server enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies or social life. The disease gets worse over time, and is extremely fatal.
Even stranger, according to Morley, “nose picking can lead to Alzheimer’s. Picking your nose can inflame the cribiform plate—a horizontal bone in the in the nose. This platelike bone is closely connected to the olfactory bulb—the part of the brain that regulates your ability to smell. According to Morley, inflammation in the nose, sets off a cascade of cytokines, which are proteins that interact with the immune system to assist with the body’s response to infection. This, in turn, leads to increased amyloid-beta protein production, the causative agent in Alzheimer’s disease. In other words, when picking your nose, you irritate certain parts of it and cause inflammation, which may indeed, cause the Alzheimer’s Disease. — Nathan Bolden