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Biochemistry Prof Probes Benefits of Nose Picking

U of S prof says possible benefits to nose-picking

Reported by Trelle Burdeniuk, CKOM (read original article here)

If you don't like gross things this story is "snot" for you.

Scott Nappper, associate professor of biochemistry at the University of Saskatchewan, is trying to get more students interested in science by looking at the health benefits of picking your nose and eating it.

It's something usually reserved for small children and there may actually be a reason to let them dig for gold.

"Nature pushes us to do different things because it is to our advantage to have certain behaviors, to consume different types of foods. So maybe when you have an urge like this to pick your nose and eat it, you should just go with nature," he said.

Napper's hypothesis is that mucous traps germs and stops them from getting into our body, but if we consume that mucous, it could help train and expose our immune system to these germs.

Napper said there isn't much research on this topic and he would like to conduct a study where some type of molecule is inserted in people's noses and then half the participants pick their nose and eat it and the other half don't.

"I think the challenge would be getting volunteers to participate in this experiment - especially if you didn't know which group you were going to fall into," he laughed.

Napper introduced the idea to his Biomedical Sciences 200 class during a lecture on the different types of molecules present in mucous.

He said making science more humourous and fun keeps students interested and engaged.

"I don't try to convert them all to biochemistry. My goal is always if I can teach you one thing that you're going to tell somebody else about outside the scope of this class, then I've prompted you to think a little bit, to question these things and I think with this example, it probably succeeded in that."

Napper has two young daughters and said the idea of letting them pick their noses, even if in the name of science, didn't go over well with his wife.

"Yeah, she's of a different opinion. She's more towards training them to be little ladies," he smiled.