We've recently published a paper on how opioids can modulate breathlessness. (The whole manuscript is open access here). Low-dose opioids can be used for treating chronic breathlessness, but we don't know exactly how they work. Opioid receptors exist across the brain. These are part of the internal opioid system (endogenous opioid system) for natural pain relief. When … Continue reading Breathlessness and opioids
Breathlessness can be many things. For example, it can be the shortness of breath after exercise - short-lived and laced with endorphins - or it can be the frightening gasping for breath experienced by patients with a range of diseases from cardiac failure and cancer to respiratory disease. From a physiological point of view, these may look quite … Continue reading Breathlessness & the Brain
As easy as breathing? It may seem like it, but breathing is actually no easy process. It involves the precise integration of several systems, including, of course, the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems (gas exchange and transport, respectively). However, it also requires the direct involvement of the central nervous system: the brain. The drive to breathe … Continue reading Breathing on the brain
The supply of oxygen (O2) is crucial for life and there are two ways O2 can be carried in blood: dissolved or combined with hemoglobin. Dissolved O2 can only supply a fraction of what the human body needs. One mL blood holds only about 0.003 mL O2 at a partial pressure of oxygen (PO2) of … Continue reading Hemoglobin: a gamechanger
Bird's eggs contain everything that the chick needs, except oxygen. So how exactly does the egg 'breathe'? First, the shell needs to be permeable to gases. The shell consists of a calcium carbonate outer layer, with two shell membranes beneath. A typical outer shell of a hen's egg holds about 10,000 pores, each less than … Continue reading How do eggs breathe?