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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In this study, a link between mitochondrial changes and infant temperament has also been suggested. Maternal psychosocial stress and lifetime trauma have been associated with decreased mitochondrial DNA copy number in the placenta (115, 116).IndividualityChronic stress links changes in the epigenetic landscape with health conditions (117). Different cell types are characterized by distinct patterns of gene expression due to developmental, environmental, physiological, and pathological reasons (117). Epigenetic mechanisms affect gene function in a dynamic way as a result of different environmental exposures during fetal dev...
Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry - Category: Psychiatry Source Type: research
Conclusion Currently available pharmacotherapies for PTSD are poorly effective on a substantial proportion of patients. Given this high rate of pharmacological unresponsiveness, further studies are needed to extend the knowledge of the basic mechanisms associated with the pathophysiology of this disorder. The findings discussed in this review suggest that DAergic dysfunction, especially genetic-dependent DAergic alteration, plays a prominent role in the pathophysiology of PTSD; as a consequence, drugs targeting the DAergic system might be therapeutically relevant. A better understanding of how and which DAergic dysfunctio...
Source: Frontiers in Pharmacology - Category: Drugs & Pharmacology Source Type: research
Anna M. D. Watson1,2*, Eleanor A. M. Gould2, Sally A. Penfold2, Gavin W. Lambert2,3, Putra Riza Pratama2, Aozhi Dai1, Stephen P. Gray2, Geoffrey A. Head2† and Karin A. Jandeleit-Dahm1,2† 1Department of Diabetes, Central Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia 2Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, VIC, Australia 3Iverson Health Innovation Research Institute, Faculty of Health, Arts and Design, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, VIC, Australia Patients with diabetic hypertensive nephropathy have accelerated ...
Source: Frontiers in Physiology - Category: Physiology Source Type: research
Conclusion: Characteristics and nonverbal behaviors of experimenters/clinicians contribute to the elicitation and modulation of pain, placebo, and nocebo effects.IntroductionThe present qualitative review investigated whether the characteristics or nonverbal behavior (NB) of the person administrating painful stimulation affected pain or placebo/nocebo effects in the research participant. The placebo effect is a psychobiological response that may occur following the application of active and inactive interventions (1). Applying an inactive medication paired with positive information about its analgesic effects can reduce pa...
Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry - Category: Psychiatry Source Type: research
Light-Induced Pupillary Responses in Alzheimer's Disease Pratik S. Chougule1, Raymond P. Najjar1,2, Maxwell T. Finkelstein1, Nagaendran Kandiah3,4 and Dan Milea1,2,5* 1Department of Visual Neurosciences, Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore, Singapore 2The Ophthalmology &Visual Sciences ACP, Duke-National University of Singapore (NUS) Medical School, Singapore, Singapore 3Department of Neurology, National Neuroscience Institute, Singapore, Singapore 4Duke-National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore, Singapore 5Singapore National Eye Centre, Singapore, Singapore The impact of Alzheimer&...
Source: Frontiers in Neurology - Category: Neurology Source Type: research
Conclusions Dysautonomic symptoms frequently occuring in α-synucleinopathies comprise cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, urogenital and thermoregulatory disturbances. These symptoms reduce quality of life and worsen prognosis. The understanding of their pathophysiology, as well as the detection of α-synuclein deposition and autonomic dysfunction in the premotor stages of α-synucleinopathies may be key for identifying novel treatment targets and improving clinical outcomes. While causative treatment is not yet available, improvement of quality of life can be achieved by personalized symptomatic treatment r...
Source: Frontiers in Neurology - Category: Neurology Source Type: research
Conclusion: The present study revealed that VO2max and the sum of skinfolds were moderately related to depression scores, while VO2max was the only independent predictor of depression scores in female workers. Introduction Depression is a multifactorial disease that affects 322 million people worldwide (1). Between 2005 and 2015, there was an increase of more than 18% in the number of cases (1). The global prevalence is 4.4%, however, women suffer more from the disease, with 5.1% compared to 3.1% of men (1). In Brazil, depression affects 7.6% of the population, which represents about 11.2 million people, with a preva...
Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry - Category: Psychiatry Source Type: research
This study had a large sample size and obtained positive findings in both patients’ subjective ratings and in inflammatory marker levels. It demonstrates the benefits of adding Tai Chi to an antidepressant regimen but does not examine the specific effect of Tai Chi on depression.Field et al. (16) investigated the effects of combined Tai Chi/yoga in 92 prenatally depressed pregnant women. They found that women practicing Tai Chi/yoga (20 min per week for 12 weeks) had lower depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbance scores compared to a waitlist control group (Table 1). This study had a large sample size and provided ...
Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry - Category: Psychiatry Source Type: research
During the 20th century, medicine became very good at compartmentalizing different systems of the body in order to understand them better. However, today we are increasingly realizing that different systems of the body are interconnected and cannot be completely understood in isolation. The brain-gut connection is one very important example of this phenomenon. Anatomy of the brain-gut connection What exactly is the connection between brain and gut? The brain sends signals to the digestive, or gastrointestinal (GI), tract via the sympathetic (“fight or flight”) nervous system and the parasympathetic (“rest...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Complementary and alternative medicine Digestive Disorders Health Mind body medicine Pain Management Source Type: blogs
In conclusion, mental stress causes vasoconstriction and autonomic nervous system reactivity in all subjects. Although the pattern of responses were not significantly different between two groups, the consequences of vasoconstriction can be quite significant in sickle cell disease because of the resultant entrapment of sickle cells in the microvasculature. This suggests that mental stress precipitates vaso-occlusive crisis in sickle cell disease by causing neural mediated vasoconstriction. PMID: 30975906 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Source: Haematologica - Category: Hematology Authors: Tags: Haematologica Source Type: research
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