Monday, April 09, 2007

Sun Sneezing

Every Spring, when the sun starts coming out again, I'm reminded of a seasonal affliction that I suffer from. No, not allergies. I suffer from sun sneezing. Or more scientifically, "photic sneeze reflex."

Never heard of it? Well, it's real, and here's what it is: I walk outdoors into direct sunlight. One to three seconds later, I sneeze once.

Sound weird? It is. 15-25% of humans have it. And it is more common in caucasians. Guess what? I am a caucasian human. Scientists haven't figured out exactly what causes it. Apparently the scientists have bigger issues to fix, like cancer and time travel. But one of the theories is that tears created to help adjust to the bright light leak into the nostrals and tickle some nerves, causing a sneeze. Another is that it is caused by a malfuction in the fifth cranial nerve, the trigeminal nerve. Yeahhhhh.

And another weird thing is that photic sneeze reflex is hereditary. Only one parent can have it to pass it along to the children. It is a "autosomal dominant trait." I have it. And my sister also has it. I'm not sure if my brother has it.

Weird stuff, this science.

6 comments:

your bro said...

I have it matt, i wonder if dad or mom has the gene

mfb01748 said...

Just helped my daughter do a science project on Photic Sneeze Reflex. Runs in our families 4 generations!

Martin said...

Have a look at the Photic sneezing resources page a group of us put together years ago : http://www.photic-sneezing.fr.st/

It could do with an update.

It's usually a family thing. My brother, father, grandfather have (had) it.

AH said...

I have it too.

Mike said...

ACHOO (autosomnal dominant compelling helioophthalmic outburst)

how clever.

Ric Seaberg said...

i wrote a song about it! The Photic Sneeze Response: http://www.ricseaberg.com/audio/The_Photic_Sneeze_Response_hifi.m3u
Ric Seaberg