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UCLA and Stanford researchers pinpoint origin of sighing reflex in the brain

  “You must remember this: a kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh.” Contrary to the words immortalized by the piano singer in “Casablanca,” a sigh is far more than a sigh. Heaving an unconscious sigh is a life-sustaining reflex that helps preserve lung function. Now a new study by researchers at UCLA and Stanford has pinpointed two tiny clusters of neurons in the brain stem that are responsible for transforming normal breaths into sighs. Published in the Feb. 8 advance online edition of Nature, the discovery may one day allow physicians to treat patients who cannot breathe deeply on their own — or who suffer from disorders in which frequent sighing becomes debilitating. “Sighing appears to be regulated by the fewest number of neurons we have seen linked to a fundamental human behavior,” explained Jack Feldman, a professor of neurobiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a member of the UCLA Brain Research Institute. “One of the holy grails in neuroscience is figuring out how the brain controls behavior. Our finding gives us insights into mechanisms that may underlie much more complex behaviors.” According to Mark Krasnow, a professor of biochemistry and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at the Stanford University School of Medicine, the new findings shed light on the network of cells in the brain stem that generates breathing rhythm. Krasnow lab/Stanford On each ...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

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Fearful avoidance behaviour is a critical symptom across anxiety disorders and an important predictor of clinical outcome. However, little is known about how threat and reward appraisal interact to drive costly avoidance behaviour.
Source: Biological Psychiatry - Category: Psychiatry Authors: Source Type: research
Even though human fear-conditioning involves affective learning as well as expectancy learning, most studies assess only one of the two distinct processes. Commonly used read-outs of associative fear learning are fear-potentiated startle reflex (FPS), pupil dilation and self-reported anxiety. A clear asset of FPS is that it reflects the affective aspect of fear learning, while pupil dilation reflects a general arousal response. However, in order to measure FPS, aversively loud acoustic probes are presented during conditioning, which might in itself exert an effect on fear learning.
Source: Biological Psychiatry - Category: Psychiatry Authors: Source Type: research
I came across the polyvagal theory some time ago in my ongoing study of finding ways to help people recover from trauma. I have come to realize that there is so much to this theory that pervades all of our behavior and feelings. Stephen Porges’ polyvagal theory is truly phenomenal. Porges’ book, The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe is another in the Norton series on interpersonal neurobiology and was written to give a nontechnical overview of the theory. It is organized in the form of edited interviews and conversations, mostly with Ruth Buczynski of the Nation...
Source: Psych Central - Category: Psychiatry Authors: Tags: Book Reviews Neuroscience Psychiatry Psychological Assessment Psychology PTSD Trauma eastern philosophy Polyvagal Theory Psychophysiology Source Type: news
Publication date: Available online 22 March 2018 Source:International Journal of Psychophysiology Author(s): José Francisco Tornero-Aguilera, Vicente Javier Clemente-Suárez The present study aimed to analyze the effect of underground operations on the psychophysiological and memory response of soldiers taking into consideration experience, the use of nocturne vision systems and previous combat actions on the psychophysiological response. Seventy participants were recruited and divided in four groups, three experimental groups with different experimental conditions, SNFV (Soldiers No-Fire Night-Vision), SFV (...
Source: International Journal of Psychophysiology - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Source Type: research
Abstract Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a learning-based anxiety disorder with significant public health challenges due to difficulties in treating the complex, multiple symptomology. We have developed an animal model of PTSD, based on Pavlovian eyeblink conditioning in rabbits, that addresses two key features: conditioned responses (CRs) to cues associated with an aversive event and a form of conditioned hyperarousal referred to as conditioning-specific reflex modification (CRM). We have found previously that unpaired extinction is ideal for reducing both CRs and CRM simultaneously and shows sensitivity...
Source: Neuropharmacology - Category: Drugs & Pharmacology Authors: Tags: Neuropharmacology Source Type: research
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Source: Student Doctor Network - Category: Universities & Medical Training Authors: Source Type: forums
Publication date: Available online 14 March 2018 Source:Neuroscience Research Author(s): Mario Altamura, Salvatore Iuso, Angela Balzotti, Girolamo Francavilla, Andrea Dimitri, Giuseppe Cibelli, Antonello Bellomo, Annamaria Petito Reported findings on reactivity to stress of the sympathetic-adreno-medullar (SAM) and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) systems in panic disorder (PD) are very variable. This inconsistency may be explained by differences in treatment exposure, illness duration and emotion regulation strategies. The present study examined the reactivity to mental stress of the SAM and HPA axes in a sample of f...
Source: Neuroscience Research - Category: Neuroscience Source Type: research
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Source: World of Psychology - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Tags: Anxiety and Panic Self-Esteem Stress Anxious Thoughts Body Language Calm Coping Skills fight or flight Nonverbal communication Panic Attack Resilience stress reduction Sympathetic Nervous System Worry Source Type: blogs
Abstract Although avoidance and escape behaviors each contribute to maintaining anxiety disorders, only avoidance completely eliminates exposure to the aversive context. Current research compared anticipatory defensive engagement when aversion could either be completely avoided or escaped after initial exposure; in addition, this research examined the impact of trait anxiety on coping-related defensive engagement. Cues signaled that upcoming rapid action would avoid (block), escape (terminate), or not affect subsequent aversive exposure; the acoustic startle reflex was measured during each anticipatory interval to...
Source: Behaviour Research and Therapy - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Tags: Behav Res Ther Source Type: research
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Source: Journal of Medical Systems - Category: Information Technology Source Type: research
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