Our Journey Raising Two Children with Special Needs

This blog chronicles our life raising two children, Nicholas 14, diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome and Weston 17, diagnosed with Autism/Asperger's/ADHD. It's the ups, the downs, the joys, the sorrows and most importantly, the beauty of living a life less perfect, a life more meaningful.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A (p.s.) on ANS

Remember my post on autonomic nervous system dysfunction and PWS?

If not, click here to read.

Well, it looks like there are some other folks who are coming to the same conclusions.

Researchers at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia submitted this article in the international journal, Clinical Endocrinology.


They discovered that individuals diagnosed with PWS had regular heartbeats while eating a meal.

"In a healthy person, the time between one heartbeat and the next varies considerably during a meal because the autonomic nervous system is very actively regulating the body's response to food and blood flow.
In people with Prader-Willi Syndrome, the study found, heartbeats were far too regular after a meal. This allowed the researchers to infer autonomic nervous system impairment."
This lack of appropriate response by the ANS puts our loved ones at risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Previous research linked the high risk of cardiovascular disease to the high incidence of obesity in patients diagnosed with PWS, perhaps the ANS plays more of an important role in this dysfunction.

It is this statement in the research that caught my eye.

“A range of abnormalities we see in Prader-Willi patients could be linked to it – including how the body secretes appetite suppressing gut hormones, and also controls appetite through the central nervous system.”

As I mentioned in my previous post, I think the "range of abnormalities" includes more than just appetite control and cardiovascular irregularities.......but of course, I am not a researcher, I am just one curious (and hopeful) mother.