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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CONCLUSIONS: The HRV spectrum may be useful to identify subclinical emotional dysfunction in individuals with TBI. Attention difficulites, specifically impairment in visual attention shifting, may contribute to abnormal reactivity to sad stimuli that may be detected and potentially treated to improve emotional function. PMID: 30261156 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Source: Brain Injury - Category: Neurology Tags: Brain Inj Source Type: research
This study investigated the effects of acute trauma exposure on alcohol craving in healthy individuals considering the role of stress reactivity and childhood trauma (CT) using a laboratory randomized controlled design.MethodsNinety-five healthy participants were randomly exposed to a trauma or a neutral film. History of CT, and pre- to post-film changes in craving (craving reactivity, CR), anxiety, skin conductance, heart rate, and saliva cortisol levels were assessed. Moreover, associations between trauma film exposure and CR, the moderating role of CT, and associations between CT, stress reactivity, and trauma-induced C...
Source: Psychopharmacology - Category: Psychiatry Source Type: research
Abstract Orexin has been implicated in a number of physiological functions, including arousal, regulation of sleep, energy metabolism, appetitive behaviors, stress, anxiety, fear, panic, and cardiovascular control. In this review, we will highlight research focused on orexin system in the medial hypothalamic regions of perifornical (PeF) and dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH), and describe the role of this hypothalamic neuropeptide in the behavioral expression of panic and consequent fear and avoidance responses, as well as sympathetic regulation and possible development of chronic hypertension. We will also outline r...
Source: Brain Research - Category: Neurology Authors: Tags: Brain Res Source Type: research
Publication date: Available online 5 September 2018Source: Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological PsychiatryAuthor(s): Boyd R. Rorabaugh, Albert D. Bui, Sarah L. Seeley, Eric D. Eisenmann, Robert M. Rose, Brandon L. Johnson, Madelaine R. Huntley, Megan E. Heikkila, Phillip R. ZoladzAbstract•Individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. We previously reported that a predator-based model of PTSD increases myocardial sensitivity to ischemic injury. Heightened sympathetic signaling has a well-established role in the formation of anxiety associated with...
Source: Progress in Neuro Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry - Category: Psychiatry Source Type: research
ConclusionsFindings suggest that individuals high in anxiety show greater contextual fear generalization as measured by US expectancy. Results are discussed in terms of potential mechanisms that contribute to pervasive anxiety.
Source: Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry - Category: Psychiatry Source Type: research
ha I Abstract BACKGROUND: Exposures to lead (Pb) during developmental phases can alter the normal course of development, with lifelong health consequences. Permanent Pb exposure leads to behavioral changes, cognitive impairment, sympathoexcitation, tachycardia, hypertension and autonomic dysfunction. However, the effects of an intermittent lead exposure are not yet studied. This pattern of exposure has been recently increasing due to migrations, implementation of school exchange programs and/or residential changes. OBJECTIVE: To determine and compare lead effects on mammal's behavior and physiology, using a r...
Source: Neurotoxicology - Category: Neurology Authors: Tags: Neurotoxicology Source Type: research
Publication date: Available online 4 August 2018Source: New Ideas in PsychologyAuthor(s): Tyson V. Barker, George A. Buzzell, Nathan A. FoxAbstractMotivation has played an integral role in understanding personality development. Two motivational systems, one associated with seeking reward (approach motivation) and one associated with avoidance of threat (avoidance motivation), have been theorized to represent individual differences in behavioral responses to the environment. However, contextual factors, particularly those with a high degree of novelty, ambiguity, and unpredictability, may simultaneously activate both system...
Source: New Ideas in Psychology - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Source Type: research
This study investigated the consistency of adolescent and parent reports of anxiety and auditory sensitivity in individuals with ASD, and examined their validity via comparisons with sympathetic arousal at baseline and in response to an auditory challenge. Fifty adolescent-parent dyads (n = 26 ASD, n = 24 typically developing; 12-16 years old; IQ>80) completed parallel versions of both anxiety and auditory hypersensitivity scales, which were compared to heart rate collected at rest and during an aversive noise task. Adolescents with ASD exhibited greater anxiety and auditory hypersensitivity than their peers, based...
Source: Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Tags: J Abnorm Child Psychol Source Type: research
Publication date: April 2018Source: The Egyptian Journal of Critical Care Medicine, Volume 6, Issue 1Author(s): Yasser Mohammed Hassanain ElsayedAbstractQuadrigeminy means a cardiac arrhythmia in which every fourth beat is a premature ventricular contraction (extrasystole) or three sinus beats between extrasystoles. Premature ventricular contractions is one of the manifestations of sympathetic over activity due to anxiety. However, anxiety might induce electrocardiographic (ECG) changes in normal person with normal heart, as in this documented case. Patient re-assurance is a therapeutic option, without need for any other p...
Source: The Egyptian Journal of Critical Care Medicine - Category: Intensive Care Source Type: research
Publication date: Available online 23 September 2017Source: International Journal of PsychophysiologyAuthor(s): Christoph Benke, Elischa Krause, Alfons O. Hamm, Christiane A. Pané-FarréAbstractResistant avoidance behaviors play a crucial role in the maintenance of anxiety disorders and are therefore central targets of therapeutic interventions. In the present study, the development of avoidance behavior was investigated in 24 healthy participants who repeatedly prematurely terminated the exposure to increasing interoceptive threat, i.e., the feeling of dyspnea induced by increasing inspiratory resistive loads...
Source: International Journal of Psychophysiology - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Source Type: research
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