Why are some people “suffer” by this light sneezing reflex and how it happens? Interesting, but scientists began to understand the reason for this reflex only a few years ago. The great Greek philosopher Aristotle was asked by these questions in the first chapter of his book called “Problems”. “Why does the heat of the sun provoke sneezing?By the way, this is the first publication that described this problem – the problem of light sneezing reflex. Aristotle suggested that sunlight causes sweating and moisture formation in the nose and mouth of a person. And in order to get rid of this excessive moisture, the body launched the process of sneezing. It should be noted that the hypothesis is really very interesting.
In the 17th century, the famous scientist and developer of the scientific method Freincis Baikon also wondered the issue of sunshine. He was able to prove that Aristotle’s theory was incorrect, being under sunlight with his eyes closed. This did not lead to sneezing. Then the scientist decided to look at the sun. This caused tears’ eyes, moisture hit the nose and caused sneezer.
Later, scientists were still able to determine that such a theory also turned out to be incorrect. Simply because the sneezer is so fast that a person does not have to be under the rays of the sun for a long time. Just go to light. And for the tears of the eyes it takes some time.
After that, the phenomenon remained unexplored for more than 350 subsequent years, until in 1964 a study was started, which was able to shed a little light on why the reflex of sneezing in the sunlight was actually manifested. It’s all about a genetic basis. Or, in other words, a genetic violation. This study also showed that this sign is autosomal-dominant, that is, only one gene was the cause of this reflex. If one of the parents has a similar reflex, then there is a fifty percent probability that the children of these parents will also receive this reflex.
In 1978, Dr. Robert Pagon and her colleagues were able to advance in these studies even further. Speaking at a conference on the issues of innate malformations, the topic smoothly flowed into a easier discussion on which the issue of light sneezing reflex was also affected. After a small introductory, four out of ten doctors participating in the discussion admitted that they and their family members were predisposed to the manifestation of this reflex. Moreover, the frequency of sneezing among these people was also different. At the same time, it differed not only in the case of each individual member of a separate family, but also at the level of each individual family.
“One of the speakers stated that on average, each of his family members sneezing with such a reflex five times. Another stated that in his family they sneeze three times. And one more said that in their family they sneeze only once in such cases, ”Dr. Pagon shared.
Thanks to this seemingly insignificant particle of information, Dr. Pagon managed to dig deeper into the bowels of this problem. Together with her colleagues, she compiled a study in which the solar sneezer was already called the more scientific term “autosomal dominant helios-glazed syndrome”, or simply “Apchi” (Achoo-English., approx. Ed.).
So what happens to our body, which causes the manifestation of this syndrome? In the study in 2010, Professor Nicholas Langer from the University of Zurich tried to find out this by observing the brain. As part of the study, the scientist decided to determine which of the parts of the brain is the most active in sunny sneezer. To conduct an experiment, he collected twenty volunteers. Ten of them had the discussed genetic violation. The remaining ten – no. The scientist investigated each of the twenty volunteers thanks to electroencephalography, while directing light to them and monitoring the brain reaction. Dr. Langer came to very interesting results. It turns out that the light sneezing reflex is not an ordinary reflex and at the same time arises not only at the level of the stem of the brain or spinal cord. Reflex captures other cortical areas of the brain.
Based on the information of EEG scanning, the scientist came to two theories that can explain the light sneezing reflex. According to the first theory, the area of the brain, which is responsible for visual perception in people predisposed to the manifestation of reflex, is very likely more sensitive than those who have no such predisposition. Excessive irritation by light triggers the response of other parts of the brain, including the somatosensory system, which is responsible for sneezing.
The second theory of the scientist looks somewhat more complicated and, to some extent, partially agrees and complements the assumptions of Aristotle and Baikon. Here the trigger of sneezing is an irritation arising in the nose. True, unlike the theory of Aristotle and Baikon, the irritant is not excess moisture. The culprit here is the Trinity nerve, which is responsible for a certain sensitivity of the face and its certain motor functions. What causes his irritation? The Trinity nerve is located next to the optic, which sends visual information signals from the retina to the brain to the brain. Therefore, when daylight suddenly gets on the retina, the optical nerve sends a signal to the brain so that it narrows the pupil. According to the scientist’s assumptions, this signal can be mistakenly perceived by the brain, as if it were sent by the Trinity Nerve and talked about nasal irritation. As a result, the sneezing reaction occurs.
In any case, the scientist believes that the key role in all this belongs to genes. Therefore, at the next manifestation of autosomal dominant helio-eyed explosion, you will know who to blame. Partly, of course, the sun itself, but to a greater extent – their parents.