How brain is involved in the process of COUGH?
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A recent study, published in The Journal of Physiology, stated that there are separate regions of the brain that get activated while giving a response for a good cough and a bad cough.

Types of cough:

GOOD COUGH: Whenever you choke on an object, your sensory nerves get activated and make you cough it out to ensures that your airways are clean and your lungs are healthy.

BAD COUGH: Can be a sign of an underlying disease such as tuberculosis or asthma.

For the study, scientists asked the participants to inhale three different types of stimulus to initiate coughing in participants;

Participants were exposed to below stimuli repeatedly and high-resolution brainstem scans were collected during the exposure.

The aim of the experiment was to identify the location of the nerve response to capsaicin and ATP in the brainstem.

1. Capsaicin: an active component of hot chilli peppers, known to activate sensory nerves present in the airway, which are involved in coughing.

2. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP): ATP is usually known as the energy molecule of the cells but it also activates one of the two subsets of sensory nerves that are involved in coughing.

3. Saline: Commonly known as a salt solution, saline was used as a control stimulus as it does not activate any sensory nerves and thus does not lead to coughing.


The capsaicin activated two regions of the brain; the nucleus of the solitary tract and the paratrigeminal nucleus area, whereas inhalation of ATP only activated the nucleus of the solitary tract.

These two regions in the brain are known to evoke a respiratory response in the body.

Source: & firstpost
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