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Cardio-Respiratory Responses Evoked by Transient Linear Acceleration

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Jáuregui-Renaud K, Reynolds R, Bronstein AM, Gresty MA. Cardio-respiratory responses evoked by transient linear acceleration. Aviat Space Environ Med 2006; 77:114–20.

Introduction: Predictive control of the responses to re-orientating stimuli and its interaction with vestibular signals may be an important factor in protecting against spatial disorientation. Here we evaluated the influence of stimulus predictability on the cardio-respiratory responses to transient fore-aft linear accelerations. Methods: There were 13 normal subjects and 6 patients with bilateral loss of vestibular function who were exposed to linear acceleration of +0.26 Gx peak while seated upright and restrained on a motorized bogie. Accelerations were: 1) ‘unpredictable,’ triggered by the experimenter either at the end of expiration or at the end of inspiration; or 2) ‘predictable,’ triggered by the subjects pressing a button. The two conditions included false trials when nothing would happen. Respiratory frequency, electrocardiogram, and trunk acceleration were recorded. Results: For unpredictable accelerations, in all subjects, the RR interval decreased within the first to second beat after acceleration onset. In normal subjects this decrease was maintained or more evident during the third, fourth, or fifth heart beat after onset. Cardiac responses were not significantly different when acceleration was triggered at the end of inspiration or at the end of expiration. Self-triggered acceleration also provoked prolonged, but attenuated, heart rate responses in healthy subjects, while responses were absent in the patients. All subjects responded with a consistent rapid inspiration to the onset of acceleration, whether predictable or not. Discussion: A vestibulo-cardiac response is evoked by transient linear acceleration, independently from the phase of the breathing cycle and from the predictability of the stimulus. A vestibular signal of motion appears to be required to produce a prolonged increase in heart rate.
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Keywords: autonomic nervous system; cardio-respiratory responses; cognition; linear acceleration; predictability; vestibular function; vestibular system

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-02-01

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