Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain can learn to overcome sleep apnea, study suggests

Date:
February 1, 2011
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
New research could provide some restful nights for the 18 million North Americans who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.

New research from the University of Toronto could provide some restful nights for the 18 million North Americans who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.

Related Articles


In a recent study that appeared in the Journal of Neuroscience, scientists from the University demonstrated that repeated obstruction of the airways requires release of the brain chemical noradrenaline. The release of this chemical helps the brain learn to breathe more effectively and purposefully.

"What we showed is that repeated disruption of normal lung activity -- what happens during sleep apnea -- triggers a form of learning that helps you breathe better. This type of brain plasticity could be harnessed to help overcome the breathing insufficiency that typifies sleep apnea" says Dr. John Peever, Associate Professor of neuroscience and lead author of the study.

In order to mimic the experience of severe sleep apnea, the scientists induced short 15 second apneas in sedated rats by repeatedly restricting airflow into the lungs. They found repeated apneas caused the brain to progressively trigger more forceful contraction of the respiratory muscles, which caused an increase in breathing. This increase in breathing lasted for over an hour.

Peever says it seems the brain is using the unwanted side-effects of sleep apnea to help it learn to prevent future apneas by increasing the depth of breathing.

This study also pinpointed the brain chemical that allows this type of plasticity to occur. They found that noradrenaline is required in the case of repeated apneas to cause brain plasticity and enhance breathing.

These findings are important because they suggest that artificial manipulation with common drugs that affect noradrenaline levels in the brain could also help improve breathing in patients suffering from sleep apnea. This work could serve as the potential basis for developing the long sought after pill for sleep apnea.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Tadjalli, J. Duffin, J. Peever. Identification of a Novel Form of Noradrenergic-Dependent Respiratory Motor Plasticity Triggered by Vagal Feedback. Journal of Neuroscience, 2010; 30 (50): 16886 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3394-10.2010

Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "Brain can learn to overcome sleep apnea, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110201122351.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2011, February 1). Brain can learn to overcome sleep apnea, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110201122351.htm
University of Toronto. "Brain can learn to overcome sleep apnea, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110201122351.htm (accessed March 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. 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