Blow me.... Not-to-be-sniffed-at facts about our *******

20 April 2008


Rachael Bletchly
The People

A pregnant rhinoceros, an express train or a chain saw - just a few of the phrases used to describe the nightly curse of SNORING. Blocked noses or collapsed nostrils are a common cause of the din. And as National Stop Snoring Week and International Nasal Health Week both start tomorrow, RACHAEL BLETCHLY sniffed out some amazing facts about the schnozz and all things nasal...

Sex godess Marilyn Monroe had a nose op in 1946. Her agent told her to make her "bulbous" nose more feminine and delicate when she signed a contract with Twentieth Century-Fox Studios.

Around 37 per cent of people have a photic sneeze reflux - which means exposure to bright sunlight makes them sneeze. Some people sneeze when their stomach is full - a genetic disorder known as snatiation.

Turk Mehmet Ozyurek has the official longest nose in the world - it's 3.5 ins (8.8cm) long.

Germans say "Gesundheit" (Good health) when someone sneezes. In Norway they say "Prosit" (May it do you good), and in Japan "Sh itsurei Shimash ita" (Excuse me).

Saying "Bless You" when someone sneezes dates back to 77 AD. People believed your heart stops when you sneeze, and "Bless you" is meant to encourage it to continue beating.
Others believed the soul was thrown from the body by a sneeze or that your body was invaded by the Devil.

We can all "smell" fear, contentment and sexual arousal, although we don't realise it consciously - and women are better at it than men.

Modern rhinoplasty was first performed by John Orlando Roe in 1887. It was first used cosmetically by Jacques Joseph in 1898 on a young man whose nose was so big he wouldn't go out.

Hollywood nose jobs became popular more than 75 years ago. The Los Angeles Examiner of May 5, 1930, wrote: "Having one's nosed shaped to fit the talkies is the most popular thing in Hollywood. Plastic surgeons agree more than 2,000 facial beautification operations have been performed among film players within the past few years."

Cyrano de Bergerac, one of the most popular plays in French history, was written in 1897 and tells the story of a talented French nobleman who is plagued with self doubt because of his enormous conk. Gerard Depardieu famously played him in a 1990 film.

Pop star Michael Jackson claims to have had two nose jobs. But plastic surgeons who have examined his changing face claim he's had more than 30 in 20 years.

A quarter of British couples say snoring is ruining their sex lives and 80 per cent are forced to sleep apart to escape the noise. According to a recent survey, 10 per cent of couples have thought about splitting up because of a partner's snoring.

A deafening 14million people in the UK snore (around 23% of the population). Many suffer from nasal congestion but others have sleep apnoea - a condition causing them to stop breathing in their sleep

Erik, the Phantom of the Opera, had no nose at all in the original novel written by Gaston Leroux.

Nosegays are posies of flowers given as gifts from medieval times. Worn round the head or held up to the nose, they helped mask the terrible pong of city life - literally keeping the nose gay. They became popular again in Victorian times and were known as tussie-mussies.

Plague doctors during the Great Plague of London in 1665 wore nosegays to protect themselves from the "miasmas" in the air that they believed spread the disease

We smell using the olfactory membrane at the back of the nasal cavity. It is the size of a postage stamp but contains 10million scent receptors.

Humans can recognise more than 10,000 different odours, scents, fragrances and pongs.

Dogs' noses are up to 1million times more sensitive than humans' - and Bloodhounds' are 100million times better. They can detect a trail several days old.

Picking your nose is called Rhinotillexis and we do it an average of four times a day - but Egyptian king Tutankhamen had his own personal nose-picker.

Hongi is the name for the traditional nose-pressing greeting used by the Maori people of New Zealand.

Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi was a morality story published in Italy in 1883. Made from a piece of pine by woodcarver Geppetto, the puppet dreams of becoming a real boy. But when Pinocchio comes to life, his nose grows whenever he tells a lie. Psychologists spent years analysing the Freudian significance of the puppet's nose.

The very first nose jobs were developed by a physician called Sushruta, in India around 500 BC. He used surgery to reconstruct noses that were sliced off as a punishment for crimes.

Sneezes are technically known as sternutations. They are convulsive expulsions of air from the nose and mouth, usually caused by irritation from foreign particles. Experts say the slowest sneeze comes out at 95 mph and the fastest can hit 650 mph - that's 85 per cent of the speed of sound.

Thumbing your nose has been a sign of derision since 17th Century Vienna - and even Shakespeare used it to abuse his enemies. The gesture involves touching the tip of your nose with your thumb and waggling your fingers in the most annoying way possible. It was originally called "cocking a snook" - mimicking a cock's comb near your snook, or snout.

Loudest snorer in the world is former Gloucester town crier Alan Myatt. The Guinness Book of Records in 2001 clocked him at a staggering 112.8 decibels - the same as a jet engine.

Samantha the witch played by Elizabeth Montgomery in the 1960s TV sit-com Bewitched could waggle her nose from side to side. Those people who can do so use a muscle called the musculus nasalis.
long nose = liar


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