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.

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 July 31, 2014 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 July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. 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:
from the past week

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