Monday, March 29, 2010

A Warning from Dr. Nathan Louis

Though I’m a great, if reluctant, admirer of Crust, I feel it’s my duty to inform its potential readers of my recent research at the University of Alabama Institute of Neuro-Otolaryngology, where I’ve been a visiting professor since 2008. As Lawrence Shainberg makes clear, it’s long been understood that the pleasure and frequency of Nasalism is inversely proportional to the picker’s level of self consciousness at the moment of initial impulse and investigation. Despite the fact that I am a lifelong Nasalist, I was not aware of this unfortunate equation until I read Crust myself and noted, as have so many (see,, or for that matter, any of the 3234 other AntiNasalist sites which, according to, focus on the dangers of Nasalism), the book’s disastrous effects on a habit which has long been my most dependable source of happiness and tranquility. I’m sure I share with many Nasalists the grief and anger one feels at such loss, but as a neuroscientist, I believe I was the first to realize that such effects are part of a reversible equation which could help us understand the mystery of self consciousness which, as all neuroscientists know, is one of the most important and elusive functions of the brain. We have suspected since 2007 that the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) is the neurochemical root of self consciousness, but thanks to Nasalism and Crust, I believe I am the first to confirm the hypothesis. Here at Alabama, working on a grant from the NIH, I have found clear evidence that Nasalists who’ve read Crust show significantly more activity and a greater number of synapses in the VLPFC than those who haven’t. Furthermore, my data has been confirmed by Dr. Elwood Baskin, our chief Otolaryngologist, who has shown a similar parallel between VLPFC metabolism and nasal activity, eg, the quantity and quality of secretion and the size and liquidity of crusts it produces.

As a neuroscientist, I am obligated of course to state again that my research remains incomplete and controversial, but as a Nasalist, I have no doubt that, even at this stage, it requires me to warn all Nasalists to avoid books like Crust and all other information about their habit. The message coming out of my laboratory is clear and unequivocal: if picking matters, don’t think about it.

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