Sex On The Brain

By | December 20, 2008

This article on the BBC’s website describes how some people sneeze when they think about sex. At first this seems amusing. Then you realise it could be a bit of a giveaway if you have dirty thoughts about someone you perhaps shouldn’t.

The possible reasons for the sneezing reflex are interesting and I’ll leave the article on the BBC’s site to fill you in on the details. However crossed wires (OK neurones) in the brain are always of interest to me because of my own synaesthesia. Add to that the revelation that erectile tissue like that found in the penis exists in the nose and you have my attention.

There is one aspect of the story that does concern me though. The use of the Internet, and specifically chatrooms, as a source for evidence about medical conditions. Who are you getting this information from? Are they who they say they are? Are they seeking attention by giving the researchers the answers they think the researchers want to hear?

There have been some well-reported issues with research that has relied on traditional methods to procure test subjects and gather data. Imagine the skew caused by engaging only with the people you met in a chatroom, even if they are telling the truth.

Granted that chatrooms encourage openness in the discussions that take place there, but some people aren’t always 100% honest, so where’s the value in data gathered in this way?