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Breathing Deeply Helps You Calm Down

Deep breaths can settle your nerves, and now scientists have discovered the neural pathway in the brain that controls this process.

In an experiment on mice, scientists identified a circuit of neurons — a tiny cluster of a mere 350 nerve cells, among millions in the mouse brain — that regulate the connection between breathing and the higher-order brain activity that affects how calmly or worked up the mice behaved.

When the scientists removed these cells, they found that the mice still breathed normally, but they were uncharacteristically calm. This discovery, the researchers said, may someday lead to therapies to help people who have anxiety, stress and panic attacks

A paper describing the work was published today (March 30) in the journal Science.
Breathing is largely an unconscious, involuntary action that's among the most basic rhythms of life. It is the process in which most animals inhale oxygen to create energy at a cellular level and then exhale carbon dioxide, the byproduct o…

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