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:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... authorized OSHA Training Institute Education Center headquartered in Northern California, has issued an ... extreme heat at their worksites. Employers with workers exposed to high temperatures ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... "FCPX editors can now reveal their media with ... X," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Color ... users can now reveal the media of their split screens with growing colorful ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... TherapySites, ... its affiliation with Tennessee Counseling Association. This new relationship allows TherapySites ... Tennessee Counseling Association, adding exclusive benefits and promotional offers. , "TCA is extremely ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... California (PRWEB) , ... June ... ... pioneer in the patient payment industry today announced its strategic partnership with ... health system workflows. , The two companies’ proven, proprietary technology combine to ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... A ... revolutionize the emergency ambulance transport experience for the millions of people who require ... has disrupted the taxi industry through the use of technology. Now, SmartEMS has ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. , June 23, 2016 ... faced the many challenges of the current process. Many of ... option because of the technical difficulties and high laboratory costs ... would have to offer it at such a high cost ... to afford it. Dr. Parsa Zadeh , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: ... its Elecsys BRAHMS PCT (procalcitonin) assay as a dedicated ... shock. With this clearance, Roche is the first IVD ... solution for sepsis risk assessment and management. ... and PCT levels in blood can aid clinicians in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... their offering. The current ... environment for MedImmune to enter. The US ageing population creates ... drive considerable growth for effective anti-influenza medications. The introduction of ... but development is still in its infancy. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: