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J Phys Ther Sci. 2015 Mar;27(3):635-9. doi: 10.1589/jpts.27.635. Epub 2015 Mar 31.

Effect of anticipation triggered by a prior dyspnea experience on brain activity.

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Department of Rehabilitation, Higashi Osaka Hospital, Japan.
National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Japan.
Department of Rehabilitation, Okuma Central Hospital, Japan.
Department of Neurorehabilitation, Graduate School of Health Science, Kio University, Japan.
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Higashi Osaka Hospital, Japan.


[Purpose] Oxygenated hemoglobin (oxy-Hb) concentrations in the prefrontal cortex are closely associated with dyspnea. Dyspnea is influenced not only by physical activity, but also by visual stimuli, and several studies suggest that oxy-Hb concentrations change in response to certain external stimuli. However, the effects of internal psychological states on dyspnea have not been reported. This study explored the influence of anticipation triggered by previous episodes of dyspnea on brain activity. [Subjects] The subjects were 15 healthy volunteers with a mean age of 25.0 ± 3.0 years. [Methods] The subjects were shown a variety of photographs and instructed to expect breathing resistance matched to the affective nature of the particular photograph. After viewing the images, varying intensities of breathing resistance that were identical to, easier than, or harder than those shown in the images were randomly administered to the subjects; in fact, the image and resistance were identical 33% of the time and discordant 66% of the time. [Results] The concentrations of oxy-Hb in the right medial prefrontal cortex (rMPFC) increased significantly with an inspiratory pressure that was 30% of the maximum intensity in the subjects shown a pleasant image compared to the concentrations in subjects shown an unpleasant image. Moreover, rMPFC activity was significantly correlated with the magnitude of the dyspnea experienced. [Conclusion] These results suggest that a correlation exists between increased oxy-Hb in the rMPFC and the effects of expectations on dyspnea.


Anticipation; Dyspnea; Prefrontal cortex

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