Why Sunlight Makes You Sneeze and Other Anomalies, Explained
Mehmet Oz, MD, explores the science behind three common health quirks.
Photo: Liubov Shirokova/Hemera/Thinkstock
You Can't Stand Cilantro
I love the stuff, but my daughter Daphne hates it. And she's not alone. Among roughly 1,100 people who tried cilantro, almost one in six had a distaste for the herb, according to a study. Scientists believe cilantro preferences vary so widely due to genetics. One study linked the aversion to genes that affect your bitter-detecting taste buds, while another attributed it partly to smell—specifically, to a gene that makes you especially sensitive to cilantro's soapy scent.
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You Can't "Go" When Other People Are Around
The fear of urinating in the presence of others (even when you're safely locked in a bathroom stall) actually has a name: paruresis, otherwise known as shy bladder syndrome. It's estimated that the condition, considered a form of social anxiety, may affect up to 7 percent of Americans. Jokes aside, paruresis can cause more than just discomfort; a full bladder can serve as a breeding ground for UTI-causing bacteria if you wait too long to go.
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Sunlight Makes You Sneeze
As many as one in three people experience this reflex, which may occur when nerve signals get crossed. The optic nerve, which senses bright light and prompts you to squint, runs close to the trigeminal nerve, the one that causes you to sneeze. When the optic nerve sends its signal, the trigeminal nerve may pick up on it. The phenomenon has been referred to as autosomal dominant compelling helio-ophthalmic outburst, or—wait for it—ACHOO.