Web edition: May 5, 2012
Doctors and scientists don’t fully understand coughing. But recent studies suggest that nerve cells in the body’s airways may point to a new way to treat coughing. Nerve cells are messengers: They send information from parts of the body to the brain, and from the brain back to the body. On the outside of nerve cells are molecules called receptors. Irritants like smoke and pollen that get inside the body’s airways through the mouth and nose stick to these receptors. Then the nerve cell sends a message to the brain, and the brain responds with a clear order to the body:
Scientists are investigating these nerve cell receptors because if they can be blocked — at least for a while — then maybe the coughing will stop.
L. Beil. Throat therapy. Science News, Vol. 181, April 21, 2012, p. 22. Available online: [Go to]