Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Shivering: Body's Wiring For Sensing, Responding To Cold Explained

Date:
December 19, 2007
Source:
Oregon Health & Science University
Summary:
Researchers have uncovered the system that tells the body when to perform one of its most basic defenses against the cold: shivering. The scientists have discovered the brain's wiring system, which takes temperature information from the skin and determines when a person should start shivering.

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University's Neurological Sciences Institute have uncovered the system that tells the body when to perform one of its most basic defenses against the cold: shivering. The scientists have discovered the brain's wiring system, which takes temperature information from the skin and determines when a person should start shivering.

Related Articles


"Shivering, which is actually heat production in skeletal muscles, requires quite a bit of energy and is usually the last strategy the body uses to maintain its internal temperature to survive in a severe cold environment. Other strategies to defend against the cold, such as reducing heat loss to the environment by restricting blood flow to the skin, also appear to be controlled by the sensory mechanism that we found," explained Kazuhiro Nakamura, Ph.D., an OHSU Fellow for Research Abroad from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

He published the research* along with his colleague Shaun Morrison, Ph.D., a senior scientist. "One fascinating aspect of this study is that it shows the sensory pathway for shivering, which can be thought of as brain wiring, is parallel to but not the same as the sensory pathway for conscious cold detection. In other words, your body is both consciously and subconsciously detecting the cold at the same time using two different but related sensory systems."

The research was conducted by studying rats. It is believed that the information directly applies to humans because previous research has demonstrated many parallels between the two species regarding this basic function of sensing and regulating heat. While studying these rats, the researchers were able to trace the shivering sensory pathway from the skin to specialized cells in a portion of the brain called the lateral parabrachial nucleus. These cells can then transmit information to another part of the brain called the preoptic area, which decides when the body should start shivering.

Shivering is one of the many automatic and subconscious regulatory body functions, often called homeostatic functions, that the brain regulates. Other examples include the adjustment of breathing rates, blood pressure, heart rate and weight regulation. Throughout the day, all of these important functions take place in the body without conscious thought. Without these important functions, humans and other animals could not survive.

"This research is a fundamental science discovery that furthers our knowledge about one of the many functions that our brains are constantly monitoring, responding to and adjusting to keep us alive and healthy," explained Morrison. "It is noteworthy, however, that there are conditions, such as hypothermia and hyperthermia, in which thermal sensory pathways come into play and knowledge of the brain's wiring can provide important clues to locating dysfunction in patients with abnormal thermal sensation. In addition, our ability to sense and respond to temperature changes degrades as we age."

*Their findings are published in the advance online edition of the journal Nature Neuroscience.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oregon Health & Science University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Oregon Health & Science University. "Shivering: Body's Wiring For Sensing, Responding To Cold Explained." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071217111007.htm>.
Oregon Health & Science University. (2007, December 19). Shivering: Body's Wiring For Sensing, Responding To Cold Explained. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071217111007.htm
Oregon Health & Science University. "Shivering: Body's Wiring For Sensing, Responding To Cold Explained." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071217111007.htm (accessed March 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins