National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Hereditary Dysautonomias: Current Knowledge and Collaborations for the Future Meeting Report October 3-4, 2002 Written by Math Cuajungco PhD, for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and Office of Rare Diseases Introduction The hereditary dysautonomias are a large group of disorders that affect the autonomic nervous system. Taken together, inherited forms of dysautonomia are actually quite common in the population. Recently, medical scientists, NIH/NINDS representatives, and several patient support groups gathered for a workshop in order to discuss recent findings and future directions in the field.
What is Dysautonomia? Dysautonomia refers to a disorder of autonomic nervous system (ANS) function. Most physicians view dysautonomia in terms of failure of the sympathetic or parasympathetic components of the ANS, but dysautonomia involving excessive ANS activities also can occur. Dysautonomia can be local, as in reflex sympathetic dystrophy, or generalized, as in pure autonomic failure.
By AVERY JOHNSON Researchers in the midst of a several years' study of how astronauts' hearts react during long space voyages reported initial findings that they say could help improve cardiac care on Earth. They found that astronauts benefitted from certain types of exercise, something that could help patients with heart failure or abnormal heartbeats, or those who are bedridden after surgery, a stroke, or during pregnancy, whose hearts atrophy much like an astronaut's in space. Heart muscles don't have to work as hard to circulate blood in space because gravity doesn't exert the same force. Astronauts returning from missions frequently feel lightheaded and sometimes pass out. After weeks or months in space, the heart appears to shrink, cardiologists say, blood volumes decrease, and the astronaut can experience hypotension, or abnormally low blood pressure.
This group does not have a welcome message. Thank you for joining Patients Research Dysautonomia (PRD). You have been selected because of your trusted knowledge and effort in spreading dysautonomia awareness. There are so many resources out there that are useful to us dysautonomics. I have enjoyed watching your personal YouTube accounts of your struggles with this illness.