Navigation Links
Yawning May Help the Brain Chill Out

FRIDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Yawning may be a natural way of regulating brain temperature, a new study suggests.

U.S. researchers examined the frequency of yawns among 80 people in the winter and another 80 people in the summer and found seasonal variations.

Yawning is known to be "contagious," the researchers pointed out. After being showed pictures of other people yawning, nearly half of the participants yawned while outdoors in winter, compared with less than one-quarter while outdoors in summer, according to the report published online Sept. 22 in the journal Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience.

The finding that people yawn less often in the summer, when outdoor temperatures often exceed body temperature, suggests that yawning could be a natural brain-cooling mechanism, said the researchers at Princeton University and the University of Arizona.

"This provides additional support for the view that the mechanisms controlling the expression of yawning are involved in thermoregulatory physiology. Despite numerous theories posited in the past few decades, very little experimental research has been done to uncover the biological function of yawning, and there is still no consensus about its purpose among the dozen or so researchers studying the topic today," study leader Andrew Gallup, a postdoctoral research associate in Princeton's department of ecology and evolutionary biology, said in a university news release.

"Enter the brain cooling, or thermoregulatory, hypothesis, which proposes that yawning is triggered by increases in brain temperature, and that the physiological consequences of a yawn act to promote brain cooling," he added.

Yawning may help cool the brain through the deep inhalation of cool air and by enhanced blood flow to the brain caused by the stretching of the jaw.

"According to the brain cooling hypothesis, it is the temperature of the ambient air that gives a yawn its utility. Thus yawning should be counterproductive -- and therefore suppressed -- in ambient temperatures at or exceeding body temperature because taking a deep inhalation of air would not promote cooling. In other words, there should be a 'thermal window' or a relatively narrow range of ambient temperatures in which to expect highest rates of yawning," Gallup explained.

More information

Neuroscience for Kids has more about yawning.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Princeton University, news release, September 2011

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. More than a sign of sleepiness, yawning may cool the brain
2. Brain Continues to Develop Beyond Adolescence
3. Stanford brain imaging study shows physiological basis of dyslexia
4. Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center research discovers key to survival of brain cells
5. How normal cells become brain cancers
6. New modeling of brains circuitry may bring better understanding of Parkinsons disease
7. Could Too Little Vitamin B-12 Shrink the Aging Brain?
8. Could targeting a virus treat a common pediatric brain tumor?
9. Some brain wiring continues to develop well into our 20s: U of A study
10. The disinhibited brain
11. Buyer beware: Advertising may seduce your brain, UCLA researchers say
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... , ... November 30, 2015 , ... According to Los ... people to overeat are not necessarily caused by real hunger, but instead by ... needs food. He notes that, while many patients are aware that weight loss surgery ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... A record crowd gathered at the ... organized by the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute. , The institute, which is the research ... science and biotechnology leaders for the conference, which focused on ways companies can work ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... A novel class of antimicrobials ... effective in fighting methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), one of the major drug-resistant bacterial ... small molecule analogs that target the functions of SecA, a central part of ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... NJ (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... top choice for innovative, patient centered orthopedic care. Led by John Vitolo, ... your injury or chronic condition, the team at Advocare Orthopedic & Sports Medicine ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... specializes in general dentistry out of Glen Ridge, NJ. He has both ... to achieve optimal mastication. He is also an expert in cosmetic dentistry. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... 30, 2015 Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: ... the Detroit Free Press as a Top Workplace , ... to work for in 2015. ... 100 winners annually, based on employee surveys rating company leadership, ... Workplaces are based solely on employee feedback. The survey is ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  IBA Molecular North America, ... distribution of radiopharmaceuticals, announced that as of January 1, ... (Zevacor Pharma). The decision to rebrand the company reflects ... as well as its close relationship with Zevacor Molecular.  ... Health and Science (IHS). Peter Burke ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 30, 2015 Baxalta Incorporated (NYSE: ... dedicated to delivering transformative therapies to patients ... today announced the launch and first shipments ... extended circulating half-life recombinant factor VIII (rFVIII) ... ADVATE [Antihemophilic Factor (Recombinant)]. The treatment was ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: