The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Bless you!  (Read 31342 times)

Offline sterling_glenn

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Bless you!
« on: 06/05/2005 23:02:44 »
Sometimes when I am confronted with a sudden change in the brightness of light (for example, when I step outside a building on a sunny day) I sneeze.  Sometimes I will achieve as many as three strong sneezes but this ceases as soon as my eyes adjust to the increased light.  I know a few other people who have told me that they frequently have this experience, including my mother (genetic?).  There seem to be many more persons in my circle of acquaintances who have never had this experience and, when I speak of it, they think me to be really quite mad.  Is there a scientific explanation for this or, as some suspect, I am actually mad.


 

Offline chimera

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 475
    • View Profile
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #1 on: 06/05/2005 23:08:02 »
Nope, quite common even. Same here, and have seen it in lots of others, too. Children have it strongest, somehow. Dunno about the scientific explanation for it - IANAD -, but it's certainly not madness on your part.

The living are the dead on holiday.  -- Maurice de Maeterlinck (1862-1949)
 

Offline neilep

  • Withdrawnmist
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 20602
  • Thanked: 8 times
    • View Profile
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #2 on: 06/05/2005 23:13:22 »
Hi Sterling. Welcome to the site.


Though I personally can't give you the physiological/biological answer , I can at least confirm this phenomenon. It's not rare, and in fact, if you have a sneeze that just won't happen then a good tip is to look at something bright ie: a light bulb (one that is on of course !!)....that ususally brings the sneeze to fruition. It certainlly does with me and a few people I have mentioned this too have also had success with it. It must be something to do with the  ' wincing ' of the eyes. I don't think it's the actual brightness , but in fact that the 'light' acts as a catalyst.

Lets hope a passing  'bright light sneezing expert' comes forth with the explanation

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2331
  • KIS Keep It Simple
    • View Profile
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #3 on: 07/05/2005 17:44:02 »
Hi Sterling welcome on board. Great bunch of guys and gals here, very friendly forum, hope you enjoy your stay.

I sneezed and thought I was diseased
A tissue is not a sneeze
It’s a request prior to a breeze
But Nasa’s Astronauts and their advisors
Found it leaves a mess inside their visors


gezondheid
« Last Edit: 07/05/2005 17:53:21 by Andrew K Fletcher »
 

Offline chris

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 5337
  • Thanked: 65 times
  • The Naked Scientist
    • View Profile
    • The Naked Scientists
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #4 on: 08/05/2005 18:47:16 »
Great observation this, I too have it, and we're not alone...

That's because about 20-25% of people sneeze when they are exposed to bright light. The condition, if you can call it that, is referred to as the 'photic sneeze reflex'.

There have been numerous explanations as to why it occurs including bright light making your eyes water and the tears irritating the nose, but this is almost certainly wrong because the sneezing kicks in too fast for tears to be formed.

The US military carried out some studies on the photic sneeze reflex a few years ago because, obviously, it would be bad news for a fighter pilot travelling at 1000 mph to suddenly launch into a fit of sneezing.

Their studies found that photic sneezing runs in families, and so presumably has a genetic origin. It also seems to be a neurological phenomenon. Exposure to bright light triggers a number of changes in the eyes including blinking, and pupil closure (constriction or meiosis). Pupilloconstriction is controlled by the brainstem which is an interface linking the spinal cord to the rest of the brain and contains many vegetative control centres which co-ordinate breathing, heart rate, blood-pressure, arousal, sleep and dreaming, and many other functions. It's therefore likely that in people with this sneeze reflex there is a bit of crossed wiring in the nervous system and nerves linked to pupil constriction, or perhaps blinking too, connect also to the part of the brainstem that registers irritation in the nose, and the need to sneeze, triggering sneezing if the stimulus is sufficiently large.

Why should this be ? Well, sneezing is quite a good way to disloge foreign bodies from the eyes because it causes the tear ducts to go into reverse, blowing tears back into your eyes. Perhaps the eye interprets the irritation of bright sunlight as a foreign body, and this underlies the sneeze reflex ? I don't think anyone knows for sure.

Chris

"I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception"
 - Groucho Marx
 

Offline chimera

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 475
    • View Profile
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #5 on: 08/05/2005 18:57:46 »
Mmmm. Could it also work the other way around?

Once had a thing with a women who had not changed her pillows for a bit too long, and they were probably full of your ordinary housebugs (no joke, after two years quite a bit of the stuffing is dead/living housemites, yuck, but totally common), and I had the damnedest thing in the morning: I could scarcely see, as if my eyes had become allergic to light overnight! Took a few hours to wear off, even.

[we went out together to buy new pillows first thing, of course - sorry for all the gory details, but I think otherwise this makes no sense at all]

The living are the dead on holiday.  -- Maurice de Maeterlinck (1862-1949)
 

Offline moses lawn

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 55
    • View Profile
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #6 on: 09/05/2005 07:50:13 »
Chris

What a super and comprehensive reply!

Even I understand it now.

"You play ball with me, and I'll scratch yours"
 

Offline doglet

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #7 on: 09/05/2005 14:07:45 »
I believe that the nerve which stimulates sneezing is v close to the one that responds to strong sunlight..and thus bright light leads to sneezing.....
quote:
Originally posted by sterling_glenn

Sometimes when I am confronted with a sudden change in the brightness of light (for example, when I step outside a building on a sunny day) I sneeze.  Sometimes I will achieve as many as three strong sneezes but this ceases as soon as my eyes adjust to the increased light.  I know a few other people who have told me that they frequently have this experience, including my mother (genetic?).  There seem to be many more persons in my circle of acquaintances who have never had this experience and, when I speak of it, they think me to be really quite mad.  Is there a scientific explanation for this or, as some suspect, I am actually mad.




WT
 

sharkeyandgeorge

  • Guest
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #8 on: 11/05/2005 10:48:36 »
sneezing while looking at light is i supect an autonomic reflex to get your eyes closed and you head turned away from the light before your eyes are damaged

Giggidy Giggidy Goo
The philosopher Q man
 

Offline kgw51gmc

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #9 on: 07/03/2006 04:46:30 »
OK Guys--I am not trying to be immature or gross...but I have to find out something.   I am 24 and a proud lifetime sneezer.  Sunlight, lamp light, head lights..anything light can be used to instigate a sneeze or more often to draw out that sneeze that is just starting.  I have been made fun of for stopping whatever I am doing and looking at light.  In my peer group I think it is more like 5% of people who have PSR.   NOW--My question is about my OTHER cause of sneezes that I have had as far as I can remmeber.  This is no joke---so let's think about it:  If I have "adult thoughts" or "sexually explicit thoughts" it makes me sneeze.  This is not a constant thing (not every 10 minutes), but it happens I would say 10-12 times a week depending on where I am and what my GF is doing.  My girlfriend thinks it is funny when I am lying in bed in the dark and she bumps into me a certain way---ACHOO!.  It is like I have been caught!!  Sometimes if I am in bed at night and have a sneeze coming on and she is in the way of the lamp all I have to do is touch her in some way that is arousing to me and ACHOOO!!  For you scientists out there--there is no link with my PSR (perverted sneeze reflex haha) and physical arousal.   No erection/heavy breathing anything at ALL...just the thought of something sexual.  If I see something sexual like a Victoria's Secret photo on a billboard sometimes I'll sneeze and get smacked by my gf for sneezing.  Please help and ask around if this is common.  As far as I know, I am the only one, but one fo these posts suggested "too much stimulus in the nerves in the front your head getting signals crossed." so it may be that somehow.  ANyone have any ideas??
 

Offline Hadrian

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2175
  • Scallywag
    • View Profile
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #10 on: 07/03/2006 20:52:26 »
Could this be that one sensory area in the brain is overlapping with the other or linked to it in some way? Like people who see colours when the hear sounds etc
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #11 on: 07/03/2006 21:25:56 »
Chris -

 
quote:
...and pupil closure (constriction or meiosis)


Does meiosis have 2 meanings? I thought it referred to the division of a gamete.

Brand new forum
http://beaverland.forumup.us/
More than just science
 

Offline Titanscape

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 785
    • View Profile
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #12 on: 11/03/2006 10:49:37 »
People are actually allergic to things like water and sunshine, perhaps that's it.


Titanscape
 

Offline alterationx10

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #13 on: 01/07/2006 17:47:28 »
I've read that in some cases an orgasm can trigger a sneeze as well. I have the same sneezing response that you do, as well as PSR. I havn't read anywhere taht the two things are related though, but maybe.

quote:
Originally posted by kgw51gmc

OK Guys--I am not trying to be immature or gross...but I have to find out something.   I am 24 and a proud lifetime sneezer.  Sunlight, lamp light, head lights..anything light can be used to instigate a sneeze or more often to draw out that sneeze that is just starting.  I have been made fun of for stopping whatever I am doing and looking at light.  In my peer group I think it is more like 5% of people who have PSR.   NOW--My question is about my OTHER cause of sneezes that I have had as far as I can remmeber.  This is no joke---so let's think about it:  If I have "adult thoughts" or "sexually explicit thoughts" it makes me sneeze.  This is not a constant thing (not every 10 minutes), but it happens I would say 10-12 times a week depending on where I am and what my GF is doing.  My girlfriend thinks it is funny when I am lying in bed in the dark and she bumps into me a certain way---ACHOO!.  It is like I have been caught!!  Sometimes if I am in bed at night and have a sneeze coming on and she is in the way of the lamp all I have to do is touch her in some way that is arousing to me and ACHOOO!!  For you scientists out there--there is no link with my PSR (perverted sneeze reflex haha) and physical arousal.   No erection/heavy breathing anything at ALL...just the thought of something sexual.  If I see something sexual like a Victoria's Secret photo on a billboard sometimes I'll sneeze and get smacked by my gf for sneezing.  Please help and ask around if this is common.  As far as I know, I am the only one, but one fo these posts suggested "too much stimulus in the nerves in the front your head getting signals crossed." so it may be that somehow.  ANyone have any ideas??

 

Offline martinH

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
    • http://www.photic-sneezing.fr.st/
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #14 on: 29/07/2006 23:55:14 »
Over the last three years there have been several threads on the Naked Scientists forum about photic sneezing.  I mentioned in one of these intial discussions that some European “sufferers" had pooled what we could find about PSR on Photic sneezing resources newbielink:http://www.photic-sneezing.fr.st/ [nonactive].  

The idea of a link between photic sneezing and other stimuli producing sneezing has often been suggested by people writing to the site, and since it’s been up – about four years – I have had five or six people telling of sneezing just from having sexual thoughts and asking if it is connected to photic sneezing.  Some of them claim to be photic sneezers but others do not.  So it would seem to be rather more common than you might think.

If the source of photic sneezing is stimulation of the trigeminal nerve by “leakages” from the optic nerve, this will explain why people who are photic sneezers may also sneeze when rubbing their eyes, when plucking eyebrows or when putting in contact lenses (these have often been mentioned in correspondence to the site).  But one of the instigators of the site realised that his photic sneezing occurred much more often after lunch than at any other time, and that if it was a heavy lunch, a PSR reaction was even more likely.  This ties in with the sneezing on a full stomach phenomenon, also noted in the literature.  Could it be that what is perceived as fullness of the stomach also gets through to the trigeminal nerve.  And the same might happen in the case of sexual thoughts.  So we really need an anatomist to tell us where these signals are all going. Any thoughts?


Martin
 

Offline Karen W.

  • Moderator
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *****
  • Posts: 31653
  • Thanked: 5 times
  • "come fly with me"
    • View Profile
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #15 on: 30/07/2006 06:00:46 »
Thats interesting and I will keep checking in as I am curious myself. I have had this happen not only with sunlight, but with florecent lighting also!.....Karen
 

Offline Karen W.

  • Moderator
  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *****
  • Posts: 31653
  • Thanked: 5 times
  • "come fly with me"
    • View Profile
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #16 on: 30/07/2006 06:00:46 »
Thats interesting and I will keep checking in as I am curious myself. I have had this happen not only with sunlight, but with florecent lighting also!.....Karen
 

Offline alterationx10

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #17 on: 07/08/2006 21:26:59 »
quote:
Originally posted by martinH

Over the last three years there have been several threads on the Naked Scientists forum about photic sneezing.  I mentioned in one of these intial discussions that some European “sufferers" had pooled what we could find about PSR on Photic sneezing resources newbielink:http://www.photic-sneezing.fr.st/ [nonactive].  

The idea of a link between photic sneezing and other stimuli producing sneezing has often been suggested by people writing to the site, and since it’s been up – about four years – I have had five or six people telling of sneezing just from having sexual thoughts and asking if it is connected to photic sneezing.  Some of them claim to be photic sneezers but others do not.  So it would seem to be rather more common than you might think.

If the source of photic sneezing is stimulation of the trigeminal nerve by “leakages” from the optic nerve, this will explain why people who are photic sneezers may also sneeze when rubbing their eyes, when plucking eyebrows or when putting in contact lenses (these have often been mentioned in correspondence to the site).  But one of the instigators of the site realised that his photic sneezing occurred much more often after lunch than at any other time, and that if it was a heavy lunch, a PSR reaction was even more likely.  This ties in with the sneezing on a full stomach phenomenon, also noted in the literature.  Could it be that what is perceived as fullness of the stomach also gets through to the trigeminal nerve.  And the same might happen in the case of sexual thoughts.  So we really need an anatomist to tell us where these signals are all going. Any thoughts?


Martin



That all sounds very interesting! I have a comment to add, Im no specialist on the matter but my photic sneezing doesn't typically take place soon after I eat or anything close to iy. Perhaps a lot of people do so after lunch, because around noon time the sun is the highest in the sky, and also they've adapted to a dimmer lighting inside where they have been eating lunch. Thats just a thought though...
 

Offline Theo

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #18 on: 19/08/2006 03:07:48 »
Hi, I've just joined this forum after searching google to see if anyone else had sneezes related to light and sexual thoughts. I experience both and I noticed this thread mentions that others have experienced the same.

Similar to what 'kgw51gmc' below wrote, it seems to be a sexual thought rather than any actual physical sexual arousal that can (very instantly) trigger a sneeze. Most people have their own favourite sexual fantasies or scenarios and its when I think about mine that it happens, not just any vaguely sexual thought... but only when its the kind of thing that makes your heart beat faster. I find that, much like photic sneezes, I'll sometimes be more sensitive to them occuring than other times. At those times I can look at a light or think a really sleazy thought and.. aatCHoO!
To me it seems like crossed wires that occur when the trigeminal nerve is sensitive. It feels like it has to do with primitive parts of the nervous system - because the reflexes involved - sexual impulse, light, tickle in nose and, for some, food - are pretty animal in nature! I can't think of any use for it, seems like a glitch but one that might shed light (atchoo) on ways that the brain is wired..
 

Offline Dave

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #19 on: 24/08/2006 21:13:59 »
Hey folks,
I'm sitting here with a friend, checking around on the Internet - because I have for several years now, been "one of those" who instantly sneezes when thinking sexual thoughts and/or fantasies - generally (and unfortunately) in the company of the person to whom those thoughts are relating to!  I was absolutely astounded when I found the couple of posts in this forum - they are exactly the same experiences that I have!

If anyone can shed some light (npi) on this subject, I would really like to learn more about it!!  Thanks!
 

Offline Dave

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #20 on: 24/08/2006 21:13:59 »
Hey folks,
I'm sitting here with a friend, checking around on the Internet - because I have for several years now, been "one of those" who instantly sneezes when thinking sexual thoughts and/or fantasies - generally (and unfortunately) in the company of the person to whom those thoughts are relating to!  I was absolutely astounded when I found the couple of posts in this forum - they are exactly the same experiences that I have!

If anyone can shed some light (npi) on this subject, I would really like to learn more about it!!  Thanks!
 

Offline queenzb78

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #21 on: 06/09/2006 23:17:22 »
Why is it that i have experienced on a full stomach that I have sneezed up to at least 10 times when my stomach gets full.  I also sneeze when going out into the sunlight as well.
 

Offline simon_alfie

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #22 on: 14/09/2006 13:47:27 »
I also suffer from sneezing at bright lights, sexual thoughts and after climax.

Bright lights are by far the most common cause, triggering the sneeze after a change in lighting conditions from dark/dim to bright.

Climax is probably the next most common cause in my case. It is also the most extreame causing the most sneezes (upto 5 or 6) when it occurs. It happens mostly after a "very good" climax. This happens as much in the pitch black (bedroom at night with curtains drawn) as does in the light.

Occasionaly I get a single sneeze from a very appealing sexual thought. For me this is no where near as common as the other reasons.

One observation I have, which I belive has not been mentioned here, is that the sneeze (in my case anyway) starts with a tickle in my nose. This may be important as it is a tickle that normaly tirggers a sneeze. Grabbing my nose when the tickle starts will stop the sneeze reflex, although the tickle may return when I let go of my nose.

There is another sexual/sneeze related trigger I have been told about by a female friend. When her and some of her friends were at an Ann Summers (sexy clothes, toys, etc for girls) party they had a techinque for decovering the vibrator thats right for you. You obviously can't try it in the "normal" way (not unless your a very friendly group). So you switch it on and place it against the skin under your nose. If you sneeze then that is the one for you. My firend confirmed that the technique made here sneeze and the product she purchased was the right one for her ;-)

I have also experimented  on my self with other things that people have claimed make then sneeze. Food or eating a lot of food does not make me sneeze. Pain also does not make me sneeze. Eating some extreamly hot chillies makes my eyes and nose run but does not trigger the sneeze, so i think this (in my case) rules out the tears in the nose situation.

I will also bring into the thread the fact that some of the triggers are also related to pupil contraction/dilation. Sexual thoughts and climax are known to cause pupil dilation. This is a close link with the affect light has on the pupil.

My experience also seems to verify the "overloading" of nurves theory. As the more intense the trigger, the more intense the sneeze, and the greater the number of sneezes.
 

ToddTampa1

  • Guest
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #23 on: 17/09/2006 14:21:26 »
This will really make you wonder.......I am a photic sneezer...and although I don't sneeze when I have a sexual thought or after I orgasm, I have a sneeze fetish. I am also gay, so this is definitely gender oriented. I get very aroused when a man sneezes. So there must be some link with the sexual part of the brain as well....any feedback. I've been trying to figure this one out for years...started when I was about 4 or 5. Even considering doing a human sexuality paper on it.......In need of much input/feedback....Todd
 

Offline martinH

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
    • http://www.photic-sneezing.fr.st/
Re: Bless you!
« Reply #24 on: 20/09/2006 18:51:00 »

Amazing!

Over the last four years or so the Photic sneezing resources site received only five or six inquiries about sexual stimuli and sneezing. Over the last three months there have been as many.  And all note that they experience photic sneezing as well, whereas most of the early correspondents did not.  

As was said, we really need an anatomist to look at this.  I wonder if the quality of the myelin, the protective and conductive coating around the nerve, is different in those who have the reflex (no matter what sets it off), somehow transmitting the signal from one nerve to the other.  So it may not be simply proximity of the optic and maxiliary nerve that does it.

Simon Alfie’s idea about the more intense the trigger the more intense the sneeze and the greater number of sneezes is interesting, but I think it depends on the individual. I’m lucky being able to observe photic sneezing in my father and my brother (and my grandfather, while he was alive), and one difference I’ve noticed is that I will sneeze far more if the light comes from both above and below – for example when sun suddenly shines on snow in winter (this spells danger while driving!) or sun on a wet road.  This will also make my father and brother sneeze, but just the statutory two times they usually do.    

Martin


Martin
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Bless you!
« Reply #24 on: 20/09/2006 18:51:00 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums