Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Nothing To Sneeze At ... Unless It's Sunny

Apparently, exposure to sunlight can elicit a sneezing reaction in some people. A recent PLoS paper, by researchers at the University of Zurich, concludes:
We propose that the photic sneeze phenomenon might be the consequence of higher sensitivity to visual stimuli in the visual cortex and of co-activation of somatosensory areas. The ‘photic sneeze reflex’ is therefore not a classical reflex that occurs only at a brainstem or spinal cord level but, in stark contrast to many theories, involves also specific cortical areas.

Ah choo! (Please draw the curtains)