Minerva

Minerva

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7482.102 (Published 06 January 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:102

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Minerva's roving eye was drawn to a randomised, double blind, controlled trial that involved exposing 79 healthy volunteers to hydrochloric acid aerosols of various pH. Perhaps not surprisingly, significant bronchospasm developed after inhalation of the acid at pH 2, 3, and 5. However, acid inhalation had no effect on non-specific bronchial reactivity, except in people who had taken propranolol (a β blocker), which caused adrenergic inhibition (CMJ 2004;45: 709-14).

The phenomenon of sleepwalking is little understood, but a theory described in Medical Hypotheses (2005;64: 28-32) suggests the serotonergic system may link sleepwalking with sleep disordered breathing (such as apnoea). Serotonergic neurons might take such a role, say the authors, because they are activated by hypercapnia (high levels of carbon dioxide), they influence the activity of motoneurons, and they are not necessarily influenced by the level of arousal. …

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