Breathing is essential to life. At birth, the brain quickly adapts and learns to control breathing in different situations. This adaptability is called neuroplasticity. Most breathing-related adjustments in the brain are short-term, like breathing faster during exercise. The brain can also learn from prior experience to prepare for future situations. For example, intermittent exposure to… Read more

Orchestral music is beautiful, rich and complex, yet analyzing the contribution of any one instrument can be difficult. In many ways, neuroscientists face similar challenges when they try to understand how the networks in the brain work. These circuits are made of many types of neurons, each of which has different properties. Moreover, the properties… Read more

We take roughly 20,000 breaths a day, mostly without thinking, but exactly how our breathing is controlled is a puzzle that has perplexed thinkers from Aristotle to Galen to modern physiologists. This universal mammalian instinct is still so poorly understood that there currently are no pharmacological treatments for human breathing disorders, like sleep apnea or… Read more

The rhythm of breathing produces electrical activity in the human brain that enhances emotional judgments and memory recall, Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered. The effects on behavior depend critically on whether you inhale or exhale and whether you breathe through the nose or mouth. In the study, individuals were able to identify a fearful face… Read more

The control of breathing is crucial for life. Without a proper response to increased carbon dioxide levels, people can suffer from breathing disturbances, sickness, and panic. In worst-case scenarios, such a deficit can lead to premature death, as in sudden infant death syndrome. How the brain controls breathing has been a subject of some debate… Read more