The Neural Control of Respiration

The neural control of respiration is complex and is not understood. Counting the respiratory rate helps us to learn about the state of the neural control of respiration, the part responsible for moving air in and out of the lungs. we do not understand it much in normal people and we have no clue what is going on with a person like Paula.

What is clears that spirometry is not sufficient, it only tells you about whether lung function is normal or not. Paula’s lung function perfectly normal. Her neural control of respiration is not. It is key for neurologists or psychiatrists or family doctors to test the neural system of breathing as well as lung function. This is the main message of this blog.

Paula’s lungs are normal, her neural controls are not. Kraepelin found the same in thousands of his patients., 1921Topics Psychiatry — Early works to 1900Manic-depressive illnessParanoiaPublisher Edinburgh : LivingstoneCollection gersteintorontomedicalheritagelibraryuniversity_of_torontoDigitizing sponsor MSNContributor Gerstein – University of TorontoLanguage English

……… be continued

Human Brain Function (Second Edition) 2004, Pages 33-46 Chapter 2 – Motor Control of Breathing rights and content Publisher Summary

The purpose of this chapter is to summarize the findings from a series of related functional imaging studies of breathing in humans and, from these, to compare the control of breathing with the control of other motor acts. The motor control of the breathing muscles is intimately linked to sensory aspects of respiration, and a fuller characterization of the neural basis of respiratory sensation is essential for a complete understanding of respiratory control.Several studies identify an extensive representation of breathing-related muscles within the primary motor cortex. The neural structures that mediate the deliberate taking of a breath have much in common with those that control other voluntary motor acts. It is clear that the motor network controlling voluntary breathing is also important for mediating other spontaneous breathing behaviors, including exercise, speech, and the response to loaded breathing. Currently, much remains unknown in regard to breathing. In particular, it is not known what controls breathing during emotional changes such as laughter or stress or what underlies the state-dependent differences in breathing control associated with waking and sleep. The neural basis for the integration of brainstem and supra-brainstem control must be explained further.

The Encyclopedia of Neuroscience 2009 edition Respiration – Neural Control Peter M. Lalley .Department of Physiology, Medical Sciences CenterUniversity of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, University AvenueMadisonUSA

Reference work entryDOI:

Definition: The neural control of respiration refers to functional interactions between networks of neurons that regulate movements of the lungs, airways and chest wall and abdomen, in order to accomplish (i) effective organismal uptake of oxygen and expulsion of carbon dioxide, airway liquids and irritants, (ii) regulation of blood pH.

Intro: The neural control of respiration is still not completely understood, although remarkable progress has been made as instrumentation, technology and analytical procedures continue to improve at an accelerated pace. (Many excellent reviews are available that have followed progress in the field, and the interested reader is encouraged to consult them for particular areas of interest


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