Hard to swallow

Austrian lung specialist Friedrich Bischinger is encouraging better living through nose-picking:

Dr Bischinger said: "With the finger you can get to places you just can't reach with a handkerchief, keeping your nose far cleaner.

"And eating the dry remains of what you pull out is a great way of strengthening the body's immune system.

"Medically it makes great sense and is a perfectly natural thing to do. In terms of the immune system the nose is a filter in which a great deal of bacteria are collected, and when this mixture arrives in the intestines it works just like a medicine...

He pointed out that children happily pick their noses, yet by the time they have become adults they have stopped under pressure from a society that has branded it disgusting and anti social.

He said: "I would recommend a new approach where children are encouraged to pick their nose. It is a completely natural response and medically a good idea as well."

There's solid stuff, way back in the literature, that suggests Bischinger is all wet... The tissue of the GI tract isnot invulnerable to infection... I hanker that he's blown an opportunity to wipe out a major source of disease... If Bischinger had a nose for research, he'd pick a less congested field of study.

Had enough? Even I can't touch this one:

Rhinotillexomania: psychiatric disorder or habit?
J Clin Psychiatry. 1995 Feb;56(2):56-9.
Jefferson JW, Thompson TD.
Dean Foundation for Health, Research and Education, Madison, WI 53717-1914.

BACKGROUND: Conditions once considered bad habits are now recognized as psychiatric disorders (trichotillomania, onychophagia). We hypothesized that nose picking is another such "habit," a common benign practice in most adults but a time-consuming, socially compromising, or physically harmful condition (rhinotillexomania) in some. METHODS: We developed the Rhinotillexomania Questionnaire, mailed it to 1000 randomly selected adult residents of Dane County, Wisconsin, and requested anonymous responses. The returned questionnaires were analyzed according to age, sex, marital status, living arrangement, and educational level. Nose picking was characterized according to time involved, level of distress, location, attitudes toward self and others regarding the practice, technique, methods of disposal, reasons, complications, and associated habits and psychiatric disorders. RESULTS: Two hundred fifty-four subjects responded. Ninety-one percent were current nose pickers although only 75% felt "almost everyone does it"; 1.2% picked at least every hour. For 2 subjects (0.8%), nose picking caused moderate to marked interferences with daily functioning. Two subjects spent between 15 and 30 minutes and 1 over 2 hours a day picking their nose. For 2 others, perforation of the nasal septum was a complication. Associated "habits" included picking cuticles (25%), picking at skin (20%), biting fingernails (18%), and pulling out hair (6%). CONCLUSION: This first population survey of nose picking suggests that it is an almost universal practice in adults but one that should not be considered pathologic for most. For some, however, the condition may meet criteria for a disorder - rhinotillexomania.

(For those without the Greek or medical background, trichotillomania is hair-pulling, and onychophagia is nail-biting.)

After this, no one can tell me that blogging is a bad habit...