Eavesdrop on Experts: The Science of Coughing

Listen to Prof Stuart Mazzone discuss the relationship between coughing, our lungs and the brain.

Professor Stuart Mazzone (Dept of Anatomy and Neuroscience) is working to understand the neural networks or nerve circuits that are important for controlling coughing, and shine a light into the role of the brain and the cough.

In the latest episode of Eavesdrop on Experts, Stuart sat down with Dr Andi Horvath to discuss the science of coughing and his research group’s research. Stuart and his team discovered that separate pathways in the brain are involved in the response to a good cough - needed to clear airways, or to ensure optimal lung health - versus a bad cough which is a sign of disease.

"What we think we've discovered is that there are in fact two cough pathways in the brain - one of those pathways is critical and essential for controlling that protective cough that we need, that if we block that protective cough, we end up with aspiration pneumonia and ultimately, with death. The other pathway we think is the one that's involved in cough and disease, so if we are correct about our discovery, then, in fact, we may have an opportunity to target unwanted cough without impacting the very important protective cough that we need for survival," says Stuart.

Podcast originally published on Pursuit.

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About Prof Stuart Mazzone

Stuart is a Professor in Neuroscience in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience and heads the Mazzone Laboratory within the School of Biomedical Sciences. His lab is internationally recognised for remarkable work in the field of cough and respiratory sensation.

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