Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

What's snot OK with eating your own boogers?

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SASKATOON -- 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 and to eat 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."

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 25, 2013 A16

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