How do negative emotions affect breathing?

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  • Scientists have identified precise mechanisms of neurons implicated in anxiety and pain, as well as how they may affect respiratory rate.
  • Their findings could lead to the development of a new pain reliever that would reduce pain without affecting breathing.

Who hasn’t felt suffocated upon hearing the bad news or the need to take a deep breath after you’ve nearly missed a train? This phenomenon, which we usually call “stress” or “anxiety attack” (depending on the severity of the situation we are in) describes the well-known effect of our feelings on our body and our breathing rate. But how exactly does it work and why can the feeling of dread take our breath away? To try to find out more, the survey was conducted by American researchers from the Salk Institute.

The scientists conducted experiments on mice and focused on a specific group of neurons located in the brainstem: the lateral parabronchial nucleus. They found that neurons from the nucleus head to the amygdala, an area of ​​the brain that processes fear and pain. These same neurons go to the Botzinger complex, the area that generates the respiratory rate.

“We have discovered very complex circuits that involve both upstream and downstream inputs from these neurons. By discovering this circuit mechanism, we can better explain why breathing is coordinated with pain and anxiety.”Explains lead study author Shijia Liu.

A course of treatment for a new home

according to Results Posted in review neuron, neurons in the nucleus and envelope affect each other based on input from these areas, causing us to breathe intensely and jerky when we feel pain or anxiety. These findings could lead to the development of a pain reliever that would prevent opiate-induced respiratory distress.

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“The biggest problem today is that opioids reduce pain but also breathing, which causes people to die. By understanding these two mechanisms in our research, we may be able to manipulate certain groups of neurons. Through pharmacological intervention, so that we can control pain. without adjusting breathingPraise Shijia Liu.

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