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December 23, 1983

The Sneeze

Author Affiliations

Hines Veterans Administration Hospital Hines, Ill

JAMA. 1983;250(24):3280. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340240012006

To the Editor.—  I enjoyed Dr Kavka's1 interesting article on the sneeze. In general, he did a masterful job of describing the mystery and continued fascination engendered by this complex act. He has, however, omitted several important references to the sneeze in his article.Hippocrates (Aphorisms, section 6, No. 13) found a useful function for sneezes: "Sneezing coming on, in the case of a person afflicted with hiccup, removes the hiccup."2William Harvey3 found the stimulus to sneeze helpful in inducing childbirth:I knew a young woman, who, by reason of the extremity of her labour in giving birth, fell into a swoon and immediately became so prostrated... that no remedies could arouse her. Being called to her... I put a feather covered with a strong sneezing powder to her nostrils. By this she was roused... her whole body began to be seized by a kind of