One of my sister's more annoying things was her stupid chocolate sneezes. Every time she ate chocolate, she'd sneeze. But just the one time. Next bite, no sneeze. But if she ate chocolate again the next day, she'd sneeze again. Once. Everyone thought she was so cute. Look at the little cutie sneeze. Awwww. I thought she was a fraud! What a joke! She sneezes, only for chocolate, and not even every time?? OBVIOUSLY she's faking for attention. And not very well. If she's going to lie, she should at least do it properly. Sneeze every time, you stupid faker.
So imagine my shock when I was all grown up, started studying the brain, and realized she wasn't faking!
You win this round sister...
Actually there’re a lot of random things which cause sneezing. People have reported sneezing after eating mints or grapefruit, or after plucking their eyebrows. It seems to be brought on by strong, sudden physical sensations, like a bold taste, or being poked near the eyeball. The most famous trigger is light. Almost one in every four people sneezes in bright light! For this reason, the phenomenon is called the photic sneeze reflex. (The word “photic” comes from “photon”, which means “light”.)
So why do some people sneeze in bright light? Or after eating chocolate?
There’s some evidence that the photic sneeze reflex is hereditary, which means that parents pass it on to their children. For this reason, it has been nicknamed the ACHOO reflex, for “Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helio-Opthalmic Outburst”. Hehehe. This is what scientists do when they’re bored in the labs – come up with ridiculous acronyms for silly things. I don’t know if chocolate sneezing is hereditary, but my sister is the only person in my whole family who does it. My guess is “no”, but that's based on the extremely un-scientific sample size of one. I’d need to talk to other chocolate sneezers to be sure.
After that first bout of sneezing, the person can go up to 24 hours without sneezing again. You can flip the lights off and on as much as you want, it won’t make them sneeze. My sister could eat ten chocolate bars in ten hours, but she would only sneeze after the first bite.