Which of these can you use to calm the nerves in the brainstem?
There are many different ways to calm your nerves.
But if you want to feel better, there is one way that many scientists believe can be especially helpful.
The brainstem is the area of the brain that controls breathing, respiration, temperature and other functions.
According to the International Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, the brain stem is also the source of most of the body’s nervous system activity, from the heartbeat to the brain’s electrical activity.
If you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder, for example, the area will likely be a primary target for medication.
Dr Ashok Kumar, who studies neurobiology at the University of New South Wales, says that when people are stressed or anxious, the spinal cord releases a chemical called corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) to release stress hormones like adrenaline.
This triggers a release of stress hormones called cortisone, which makes the brain feel more relaxed.
The body can then produce more cortisones to counteract the stress.
Dr Kumar says that the calming effect of CRF, which comes from a substance called cortisol, can have positive effects on people who are feeling anxious.
“If they have high cortisol levels, then it helps them to feel more comfortable.
This can help them sleep better, relax and feel better about themselves,” he says.
“We know that the release of cortisolone also helps in the maintenance of homeostasis and can prevent stress responses from taking over.”
Dr Kumar is also a keen advocate of the use of neuropeptides to treat anxiety.
These drugs, which are derived from the amino acid tyrosine, help regulate the activity of nerve cells in the body.
“Tyrosine is an important neurotransmitter in the nervous system and regulates the production of several neurotransmitters, including stress hormones,” he explains.
“It is also used to increase blood flow in the muscles of the heart, kidneys and adrenal glands.”
Neuropeptide meds can help with the symptoms of anxiety, but they also can be used to relieve symptoms of depression and other disorders that are linked to inflammation.
Drs Kumar and Dr Ashoyanarayanan are working to understand how these drugs work and whether they could be used for people suffering from anxiety.
They also want to see how these neuropeptic drugs could be adapted to treat a range of conditions, including epilepsy, chronic pain and depression.
The researchers are currently investigating how neuropepsis could be developed to treat depression, for instance, by treating the neurotransmitter dopamine.
“Depression is a major global health problem that affects over 300 million people worldwide,” says Dr Kumar.
“Our hope is that we will be able to identify new treatments for depression through this work.”
Dr Ashohanaranan is also interested in learning more about the neuropepmis in the context of the immune system, and he hopes that the team will be examining how neuroinflammation and the brain-immune system can co-exist.
“The immune system is very important in our physiology and in our brain.
We need to know about how this interaction is happening, so we can develop new treatments and new therapies,” he adds.
“In particular, we are looking at the interaction between immune cells and the immune cells themselves.”
References: “Antidepressant-Induced Neuropepticosis in Patients with Anxiety Disorders.”
Journal of Neuroimmune Disorders, 2016.