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Sneeze related area in the medulla: localisation of the human sneezing centre?
  1. M Seijo-Martínez1,
  2. A Varela-Freijanes2,
  3. J Grandes2,
  4. F Vázquez3
  1. 1Neurology Service, Hospital do Salnes, Villagarcía de Arosa, Spain
  2. 2Internal Medicine Service, Complexo Hospitalario de Pontevedra, Spain
  3. 3Radiology, MEDTEC, Hospital Xeral de Vigo, Spain
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Manuel Seijo-Martinez
 Hospital do Salnés, Ande-Rubians, Villagarcia de Arosa, 36.619 Pontevedra, Spain; mseijom{at}


Sneezing is a rarely explored symptom in neurological practice. In the cat, a sneeze evoking centre is located in the medulla. The existence of a sneezing centre has not been confirmed in humans. A case with abnormal sneezing secondary to a strategic infarct in the right latero-medullary region is presented. A 66 year old man suddenly presented paroxysmal sneezing followed by ataxia, right sided motor and sensory symptoms, and hoarseness. The application of stimuli to the right nasal fossa did not evoke sneezing nor the wish to sneeze. The same stimuli to the contralateral nasal fossa evoked normal sneezing. The preservation of the superficial sensitivity of the nasal fossa indicates that the lesion was localised in the hypothetical human sneezing centre, very close to the spinal trigeminal tract and nucleus. This centre appears to be bilateral and functionally independent on both sides.

  • sneezing
  • brain stem
  • trigeminal nucleus

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  • Published Online First 14 December 2005

  • Competing interests: none declared