Professor lectures on health benefits of nose-picking

Saskatchewan biochemist has a theory

If you don’t like gross things, this story is snot for you.

An 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.

Scott Napper says nature pushes us to do different things because it is to our advantage to have certain behaviours, to consume different types of foods.

Napper says mucous traps germs and stops them from getting into our body, but if we consume that mucous, it could help train our immune system by exposing it to the germs.

So he says when children have the urge to pick their nose and eat it, parents shouldn’t get upset.

Napper says he hopes 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,” he says with a laugh. “Especially if you didn’t know which group you were going to fall into.”

Napper also says making science more humorous 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 says 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,” he says. “She’s more towards training them to be little ladies.”

(CKOM)




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Professor lectures on health benefits of nose-picking

  1. Dr. Napper has it right. Sometime students really need that off the wall, laughter inducing idea or story. We tend to take ourselves too seriously as students (and profs too I imagine) and need to be reminded why we got into science in the first place (Thank you Bill Nye!!). I’m graduating in just over a week and some of the classes I remember most are when Dr. Kruisselbrink told us stories about his kids. He teaches motor learning and perceptual motor development and frequently told us stories about his kids’ “vestibular training” that horrified an older grocery store employee and why giving your 11 year old son throwing knives for his birthday is not as bad an idea as it sounds at first. Check out this link for a taste his brilliance and personality. Definitely one of my favorite and most influential professors

  2. “Napper says mucous traps germs and stops them from getting into our body, but if we consume that mucous, it could help train our immune system by exposing it to the germs.”

    By this logic, why don’t we just expose ourselves to all kinds of germs?
    Don’t bother washing your hands after using the toilet: you’re doing yourself and your family a favour by exposing them to e-coli! Soon you’ll all be immune!

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