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 September 23, 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 September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
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