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Med Hypotheses. 2014 Oct;83(4):494-6. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2014.08.009. Epub 2014 Aug 15.

Yawning, fatigue, and cortisol: expanding the Thompson Cortisol Hypothesis.

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Psychology Research Centre, Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus, Poole House (PG04), Poole BH12 5BB, UK. Electronic address:


Yawning and its involvement in neurological disorders has become the new scientific conundrum. Cortisol levels are known to rise during stress and fatigue; yawning may occur when we are under stress or tired. However, the link between yawning, fatigue, and cortisol has not been fully understood. Expansion of the Thompson Cortisol Hypothesis proposes that the stress hormone, cortisol, is responsible for yawning and fatigue especially in people with incomplete innervation such as multiple sclerosis. This informs our understanding of the functional importance of the brain stem region of the brain in regulating stress and fatigue.

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