Allen, S. C. and Khattab, A. D., 2006. The tendency to altered perception of airflow resistance in aged subjects might be due mainly to a reduction in diaphragmatic proprioception. Medical Hypotheses, 67 (6), pp. 1406-1410.
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Elderly patients with asthma, particularly those above the age of 80 years, appear less able to detect early worsening of their airflow resistance and hence might not take ‘rescue’ bronchodilator medication promptly. No consistent explanation for the observation has been posited. We hypothesize that deterioration in the sensitivity and accuracy of inspiratory (mainly diaphragmatic) proprioception is a plausible mechanism. This contention is supported by observations that indicate the central role of afferent phrenic nerve fibres arising from mechanoreceptors in diaphragmatic muscle and entheses in the ability to sense changes in intrathoracic pressure and volume. Other sensory afferent sources appear less important in this context because the ability to detect intrathoracic pressure and volume changes is preserved in patients with heart–lung transplants (parenchymal and airway denervation), topically anaesthetized upper airways and spinal cord transection below C4 (intact phrenic function) but not cord transection above C2 (phrenic function absent) if the airways are simultaneously anaesthetized. Further support for the hypothesis comes from demonstration of reduced integrated proprioceptive function in older subjects, such as increased postural sway, reduced ability to judge changes in joint position and slower recovery from eye and hand perturbation. In the context of asthma, the detection of a change in airflow resistance depends mainly on the subconscious detection of a mismatch between the inspiratory effort and the volume change achieved; the resulting discrepancy between length (volume) and tension (muscular effort) is felt as a sensation of obstructed breathing, resulting in greater effort to breath and conscious actions such as self-medication. Our hypothesis proposes that a reduced ability to detect accurately the volume change during tidal breathing delays the sensing of the obstruction in older subjects.
|Subjects:||Technology > Medicine and Health|
|Group:||School of Health and Social Care > Centre for Postgraduate Medical Research and Education|
|Deposited By:||INVALID USER|
|Deposited On:||25 Apr 2007|
|Last Modified:||07 Mar 2013 14:36|
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