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Auton Neurosci. 2017 Jan;202:5-17. doi: 10.1016/j.autneu.2016.07.003. Epub 2016 Jul 16.

What is nausea? A historical analysis of changing views.

Author information

1
Department of Otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA; Department of Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA; Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA; Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.
2
Department of Otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA; Department of Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA. Electronic address: byates@pitt.edu.

Abstract

The connotation of "nausea" has changed across several millennia. The medical term 'nausea' is derived from the classical Greek terms ναυτια and ναυσια, which designated the signs and symptoms of seasickness. In classical texts, nausea referred to a wide range of perceptions and actions, including lethargy and disengagement, headache (migraine), and anorexia, with an awareness that vomiting was imminent only when the condition was severe. However, some recent articles have limited the definition to the sensations that immediately precede emesis. Defining nausea is complicated by the fact that it has many triggers, and can build-up slowly or rapidly, such that the prodromal signs and symptoms can vary. In particular, disengagement responses referred to as the "sopite syndrome" are typically present only when emetic stimuli are moderately provocative, and do not quickly culminate in vomiting or withdrawing from the triggering event. This review considers how the definition of "nausea" has evolved over time, and summarizes the physiological changes that occur prior to vomiting that may be indicative of nausea. Also described are differences in the perception of nausea, as well as the accompanying physiological responses, that occur with varying stimuli. This information is synthesized to provide an operational definition of nausea.

KEYWORDS:

Emesis; Nausea; Seasickness; Sopite syndrome; Vomiting

PMID:
27450627
PMCID:
PMC5203950
DOI:
10.1016/j.autneu.2016.07.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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