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Finding may help people with sleep disorders

http://www.jewishworldreview.com | (UPI) Research revealing the brain's role in breathing may point to ways to develop treatments for sleep disorders and to prevent sudden infant death syndrome.

The study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, contradicts the wide-spread view that a single area in the brain generates breathing rhythm, letting you breathe faster or slower depending on your activity and position.

The neurobiologists discovered the process is regulated by two brain systems that interact, they reported in the journal Neuron.

"Our research indicates that two cellular networks closely collaborate to control breathing," said Dr. Nicholas Mellen, an assistant researcher in neurobiology who led the study.

"This brings us an important step closer to understanding how breathing control is organized in the brain." Dr. Jack Feldman, UCLA professor of neurobiology and senior study author, said the finding could enhance prevention, diagnosis and treatment for sleep apnea and sudden infant death syndrome.

It also can lead to the development of drugs for neurological disorders that can interfere with breathing, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, he added.

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