Scientists reveal the reason for Rudolph’s red nose – Medical Observer

On the lighter side of health, scientists have found the secret behind Rudolph’s red nose.

RUDOLPH the Red-Nosed Reindeer’s snout has been immortalised in movies, books and song. But until now, no-one has offered a scientific explanation for the glow that allows the world’s most famous antlered herbivore to guide Santa’s sleigh through the night before Christmas.

Now researchers in the Netherlands and Norway have used a hand-held microscope to examine the nasal lining of five healthy humans, two reindeer and a sixth person with a non-cancerous nasal growth.

Reindeer noses have 25% more blood vessels than human noses, according to the tongue-in-cheek investigation, published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in its Christmas edition.

The tiny blood vessels provide plentiful oxygen-carrying cells and help control the body’s temperature, showed their findings, which were backed by an infrared image of a reindeer after exercise.

“Rudolph’s nose is red because it is richly supplied with red blood cells, comprises a highly dense microcirculation, and is anatomically and physiologically adapted for reindeer to carry out their flying duties for Santa Claus,” the paper observes.

For my friends living in Australia don’t forget to use plenty of sun screen this summer.

Red noses may be a cute look on a reindeer but not on a human. Let’s look after our skin this summer season. 🙂

Yours in great health.

Dr George

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