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03rd Jan 2024

Do you always have a cold nose? A study says this could be the reason why

Sophie Collins

Cold nose

You learn something new every day

Is there always a major temperature difference between your body and your nose?

According to a 2018 study, having a cold nose has very little to do with your body temperature and more to do with brain activity.

The temperature of your nose could actually indicate how much strain your brain is under.

Scientists at the University of Nottingham looked at the neurological functions of 14 volunteers and found that the more mentally overwhelmed they were, the colder their noses became.

The researchers used a thermal imaging camera to monitor the participants’ brains while they were doing mental tasks.

They found that when participants in the study were focused on a task, the rate of their breathing changed and blood flow was redirected from the face to the brain to aid it as they worked hard.

Lead author, Dr. Alastair Campbell Ritchie, of the Bioengineering Research Group, said that they were surprised at the strength in the links between mental strain and facial temperature.

He explained: “We expected that mental demands on an operator would result in physiological changes but the direct correlation between the workload and the skin temperature was very impressive.”

He went on to say it was counterintuitive before adding: “We were not expecting to see the face getting colder. With this accurate way to estimate workload we can develop methods that will assist the operator at times of maximum stress.”

He went on to explain that the thermal imaging technique used in the study could benefit other workplaces to see if employees who have strenuous hours, like pilots, are working to a level that could be detrimental to their performance.