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Does Your Brain Add To Your Asthma Problems?

In another example of how your emotions can affect your physical health for the negative, merely mentioning the word wheeze to an asthma sufferer can activate more severe symptoms, according to a new study.

Scientists used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the brains of six mildly asthmatic patients who inhaled either ragweed or dust-mite extracts. During those scans, patients were shown three words: Wheeze, loneliness and curtains. Then, researchers measured their patients' lung function as well as molecular signs of inflammation in their sputum

Scans revealed those asthma-related reminders stimulated responses in two sectors of the brain related to lung functioning and inflammation. Both the anterior cingulate cortex and insula are involved in transmitting information about the physiological condition of the body, such as shortness of breath and pain levels, scientists said. Moreover, these regions of the brain have strong connections with other structures essential in processing emotional information.

Sounds just as compelling as a recent study that found depression can independently lead to insulin resistance and the high levels of blood glucose that result from it.

Some natural treatments that can help you deal with the emotions that affect your physical and mental health:

EurekAlert August 29, 2005

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