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Once she sneezed 36 times in a row!

  1. Jun 28, 2005 #1
    My sister has horrible allergies which cause her to sneeze mulitiple times. Once she sneezed 36 times in a row! :surprised My question is why do we sneeze and why do some people sneeze a ridiculous number of times? Is it true that sneezing kills brain cells? Does it kill more brain cells if you hold it in? :bugeye:

    ~Kitty
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 28, 2005 #2

    DocToxyn

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    Sneezing is typically brought on by some sort of irritation in the nasal cavity, which is then (hopefully) forcibly evacuated by the sneeze. Sneezes are triggered by such things as allergens or infections, such as cold or flu. As you mention allergic sneezes usually come in bursts of multiple sneezes and are typically unproductive (not a lot of mucus) although this isn't always the case. If you produce a lot of ejected material and it is colored and thick this may be a sign of infection and could signal a trip to the doctor.
    I have never seen reliable information that connects sneezing with the death of brain cells. As far as holding it in, it's probably not a good idea since the material attempting to be ejected could end up in the sinus and provide further irritation; your body is obviously trying to get rid of it, whay stop it?. The brain cell thing may have stemmed from this and perhaps became accepted in society as an old wives tale to keep kids from holding in their sneezes.
     
  4. Jun 29, 2005 #3
    there was a story about a guy who sneezed out his frontal lobe, or something like that, i bet that killed some brain cells, of course the guy died, but it was sudden... of course the papers would have exagerated, i would imagine that the frontal lobe is to large to sneeze, atleast not without it being liquidised first...
     
  5. Jun 29, 2005 #4
    :bugeye: I've heard about the guy sneezing out his frontal lobe. However, I highly doubt the story has a thread of truth to it. Thanks for the insight DocToxyn. :smile:

    ~Kitty
     
  6. Jun 30, 2005 #5

    Moonbear

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    This would have to be some sort of urban legend/myth. First, the brain is rather well attached; you're not going to just lose a part of it from the rest without some traumatic head injury involved. Second, the anatomy of the skull and sinuses are not formed in a way that would leave your nose open to your brain; imagine the seriousness of a sinus infection if the pathogens could directly travel to your brain! People joke around when you have a bad cold or other infection that's producing copious mucus that you're sneezing out your brains, but that's just a joke.
     
  7. Jul 5, 2005 #6

    Ouabache

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    On a related note, I've noticed if you feel a sneeze coming on, but not quite there.. if you look into a bright light (as safety precaution, not the sun), it more often than not, brings on the sneeze. I am not aware of the biological mechanism behind that.
     
  8. Jul 5, 2005 #7

    brewnog

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    Nobody really knows what causes the photic sneezes, but it's been suggested that it's a reflex causing your tear ducts to produce tears, a small amount of which can get into your nose through the nasolacrimal duct, and provoke the sneeze reflex. Some ENT specialists, however, refute this.


    Not a biologist, so it might pay to take my reply with plenty of salt.
     
  9. Jul 6, 2005 #8

    DocToxyn

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    Check out the last few posts in this thread for a discussion of photic sneezing.
     
  10. Jul 6, 2005 #9
    I read that this was due to the proximity of whatever sensors are in your nasal passage to the optic nerve. If you look directly into a bright light, like the sun, the optic nerve carries too much uh... current, I guess, and it kinda spills over to your nasal receptors en route.
     
  11. Jul 6, 2005 #10

    brewnog

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    Thanks for that Doc, that one passed me by.

    Nice highlight feature, by the way!
     
  12. Jul 19, 2005 #11

    Ouabache

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    Thanks, brewnog, DocToxyn and El Hombre Invisible. I appreciate your thoughts and comments about how light can stimulate a sneeze. It is quite interesting that response is also known as Autosomal dominant Compelling Helio-Opthalic Outburst or ACHOO!! :surprised

    I agree that previous thread Doc points to is quite good!
     
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