Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Allergies? Your sneeze is a biological response to the nose's 'blue screen of death'

Date:
July 31, 2012
Source:
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Summary:
Who would have thought that our noses and Microsoft Windows' infamous blue screen of death could have something in common? New research suggests that sneezing is the body's natural reboot and that patients with disorders of the nose such as sinusitis can't reboot, explaining why they sneeze more often than others.

New research suggests that sneezing is the body's natural reboot.
Credit: drubig-photo / Fotolia

New research suggests that sneezing is the body's natural reboot and that patients with disorders of the nose such as sinusitis can't reboot, explaining why they sneeze more often than others.

Who would have thought that our noses and Microsoft Windows' infamous blue screen of death could have something in common? But that's the case being made by a new research report appearing online in The FASEB Journal. Specifically, scientists now know exactly why we sneeze, what sneezing should accomplish, and what happens when sneezing does not work properly. Much like a temperamental computer, our noses require a "reboot" when overwhelmed, and this biological reboot is triggered by the pressure force of a sneeze. When a sneeze works properly, it resets the environment within nasal passages so "bad" particles breathed in through the nose can be trapped. The sneeze is accomplished by biochemical signals that regulate the beating of cilia (microscopic hairs) on the cells that line our nasal cavities.

"While sinusitis rarely leads to death, it has a tremendous impact on quality of life, with the majority of symptoms coming from poor clearance of mucus," said Noam A. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. "By understanding the process by which patients with sinusitis do not clear mucus from their nose and sinuses, we can try to develop new strategies to compensate for their poor mucus clearance and improve their quality of life."

To make this discovery, Cohen and colleagues used cells from the noses of mice which were grown in incubators and measured how these cells cleared mucus. They examined how the cells responded to a simulated sneeze (puff of air) by analyzing the cells' biochemical responses. Some of the experiments were replicated in human sinus and nasal tissue removed from patients with and without sinusitis. They found that cells from patients with sinusitis do not respond to sneezes in the same manner as cells obtained from patients who do not have sinusitis. The researchers speculate that sinusitis patients sneeze more frequently because their sneezes fail to reset the nasal environment properly or are less efficient at doing so. Further understanding of why sinusitis patients have this difficulty could aid in the development of more effective medications or treatments.

"I'm confident that modern biochemical studies of ciliary beating frequency will help us find new treatments for chronic sinusitis," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, "I'm far less confident in our abilities to resolve messy computer crashes. We now know why we sneeze. Computer crashes are likely to be a mystery forever."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. K.-Q. Zhao, A. T. Cowan, R. J. Lee, N. Goldstein, K. Droguett, B. Chen, C. Zheng, M. Villalon, J. N. Palmer, J. L. Kreindler, N. A. Cohen. Molecular modulation of airway epithelial ciliary response to sneezing. The FASEB Journal, 2012; 26 (8): 3178 DOI: 10.1096/fj.11-202184

Cite This Page:

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Allergies? Your sneeze is a biological response to the nose's 'blue screen of death'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120731103035.htm>.
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. (2012, July 31). Allergies? Your sneeze is a biological response to the nose's 'blue screen of death'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120731103035.htm
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Allergies? Your sneeze is a biological response to the nose's 'blue screen of death'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120731103035.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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