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      Breathing matters

      , ,
      Nature Reviews Neuroscience
      Springer Nature

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          Abstract

          Breathing is a well-described, vital and surprisingly complex behaviour, with behavioural and physiological outputs that are easy to directly measure. Key neural elements for generating breathing pattern are distinct, compact and form a network amenable to detailed interrogation, promising the imminent discovery of molecular, cellular, synaptic and network mechanisms that give rise to the behaviour. Coupled oscillatory microcircuits make up the rhythmic core of the breathing network. Primary among these is the preBötzinger Complex (preBötC), which is composed of excitatory rhythmogenic interneurons and excitatory and inhibitory pattern-forming interneurons that together produce the essential periodic drive for inspiration. The preBötC coordinates all phases of the breathing cycle, coordinates breathing with orofacial behaviours and strongly influences, and is influenced by, emotion and cognition. Here, we review progress towards cracking the inner workings of this vital core.

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          It is often assumed that cellular and synaptic properties need to be regulated to specific values to allow a neuronal network to function properly. To determine how tightly neuronal properties and synaptic strengths need to be tuned to produce a given network output, we simulated more than 20 million versions of a three-cell model of the pyloric network of the crustacean stomatogastric ganglion using different combinations of synapse strengths and neuron properties. We found that virtually indistinguishable network activity can arise from widely disparate sets of underlying mechanisms, suggesting that there could be considerable animal-to-animal variability in many of the parameters that control network activity, and that many different combinations of synaptic strengths and intrinsic membrane properties can be consistent with appropriate network performance.
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            Mindfulness meditation improves cognition: evidence of brief mental training.

            Although research has found that long-term mindfulness meditation practice promotes executive functioning and the ability to sustain attention, the effects of brief mindfulness meditation training have not been fully explored. We examined whether brief meditation training affects cognition and mood when compared to an active control group. After four sessions of either meditation training or listening to a recorded book, participants with no prior meditation experience were assessed with measures of mood, verbal fluency, visual coding, and working memory. Both interventions were effective at improving mood but only brief meditation training reduced fatigue, anxiety, and increased mindfulness. Moreover, brief mindfulness training significantly improved visuo-spatial processing, working memory, and executive functioning. Our findings suggest that 4days of meditation training can enhance the ability to sustain attention; benefits that have previously been reported with long-term meditators. 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              The motor infrastructure: from ion channels to neuronal networks.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Reviews Neuroscience
                Nat Rev Neurosci
                Springer Nature
                1471-003X
                1471-0048
                May 8 2018
                Article
                10.1038/s41583-018-0003-6
                6636643
                29740175
                a343c27b-029f-4068-86bc-617483e430c9
                © 2018

                http://www.springer.com/tdm


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