Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stroke Patients Left Feeling Dissatisfied By Inability To Sneeze

Date:
January 25, 2000
Source:
American Academy Of Neurology
Summary:
Is the ability to sneeze taken for granted? Stroke patients who lost the ability to sneeze each time they felt a familiar ticklish feeling in their noses may think so. In the current issue of Neurology, a researcher identified four people recovering from strokes who temporarily lost the ability to sneeze even though the urge to sneeze and the ability to mimic the action remained.

ST. PAUL, MN -- Is the ability to sneeze taken for granted? Stroke patients who lost the ability to sneeze each time they felt a familiar ticklish feeling in their noses may think so.

Related Articles


In the current issue of Neurology, a researcher identified four people recovering from strokes who temporarily lost the ability to sneeze even though the urge to sneeze and the ability to mimic the action remained. Each person had a stroke affecting the left or right side of the lower brain stem, an area of the brain known as the medulla, according to a case report in the January 25 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"I first noticed this symptom when one of my stroke patients expressed considerable frustration that he could not sneeze," said neurologist and study author Mark Hersch, MD, PhD, of New South Wales University and St. George Hospital, both in Sydney, Australia. "When the patient felt the ticklish feeling in his nose signaling a sneeze, the build up would peter out before the explosive completion of the sneeze, leaving him feeling dissatisfied. One year later the patient was delighted to tell me that he could sneeze again."

Hersch reports that three other patients with strokes affecting the medulla had the same problem. In each case the build-up to the sneeze was not affected, only the completion of the sneeze. These three people recovered the ability to sneeze within six months.

Sneezing is a reflex designed to protect the body's respiratory system. It requires sensory input (a ticklish feeling in the nose) to start the sneeze. The ticklish sensation in the nose connects to nerves that initiate the final action, which is a rapid exhalation through the nose and mouth. Typically, once the sneezing reflex is triggered, the final action occurs automatically. In the case of these patients, the automatic ability to link the ticklish feeling in the nose to the final sneeze was temporarily impaired, said Hersch.

In these cases only one side of the medulla was affected by the stroke. This suggests that both the left and right side of the medulla must be intact for the sneezing reflex to occur, Hersch said.

The number of patients who lose the ability to sneeze after strokes affecting the medulla is not documented. "I assume that many patients with this type of stroke lose the ability to sneeze temporarily, but fail to tell their doctor," said Hersch. "Some of my patients have been amazed and relieved to hear that other patients have experienced the same symptom.

"Aside from being frustrating, the inability to sneeze will not cause other medical conditions. I do recommend avoiding dusty environments until the sneezing reflex returns to normal."

Literature suggests that the most common cause of unexplained inability to sneeze is psychiatric. A tumor on the medulla can also affect the ability to sneeze.

A neurologist is a medical doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 16,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit its Web site at http://www.aan.com. For online neurological health and wellness information, visit NeuroVista at http://www.aan.com/neurovista.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy Of Neurology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy Of Neurology. "Stroke Patients Left Feeling Dissatisfied By Inability To Sneeze." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 January 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000125052757.htm>.
American Academy Of Neurology. (2000, January 25). Stroke Patients Left Feeling Dissatisfied By Inability To Sneeze. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000125052757.htm
American Academy Of Neurology. "Stroke Patients Left Feeling Dissatisfied By Inability To Sneeze." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000125052757.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) — Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins