The Influence of Ultradian Autonomic Rhythms, as Indexed by the Nasal Cycle, on Unilateral Olfactory Thresholds
Cyclic side-to-side variations in the autonomic tone of the nasal mucosae produce corresponding changes in nasal patency. This 90 minute to 4 hour “nasal cycle” is correlated with a number of ultradian rhythms, including asymmetries in left:right cerebral EEG activity and differential performance on visual/spatial psychological tasks (Eccles, 1978; Klein et al., 1986; Werntz et al., 1984). Several authors have proposed that the nasal cycle is part of an overall physiological rhythm known as the Basic Rest-Activity Cycle (BRAC). Thus, relatively greater airflow through the left nasal chamber is associated with the ‘REST’ phase of the BRAG and relatively greater airflow through the right nasal chamber is associated with the ‘ACTIVITY’ phase of the BRAC. During the ‘REST’ phase of the BRAC there is a preponderance of right hemispheric EEG activity, a spatial cognitive mode, and a parasympathetic predominance in the stomach, intestines, and other unpaired body organs. During the ‘ACTIVITY’ phase of the BRAG, greater left EEG hemispheric activity, a verbal cognitive mode, and sympathetic predominance in unpaired organs occurs (Kennedy et al., 1986).
KeywordsNasal Airflow Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Nasal Resistance Olfactory Sensitivity Ultradian Rhythm
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Eccles, R.,1978, The central rhythm of the nasal cycle, Acta. Otolaryngol., 86: 464Google Scholar
- Hiatt, J.F. and Kripke, D.F., 1975, Ultradian rhythms in waking gastric activity, Psychosomatic Med., 37: 320.Google Scholar
- Kennedy, B., Ziegler, M.G., and Shannahoff-Khalsa, D.S., 1986, Alternating lateralization of plasma catecholimines and nasal patency in humans, Life Sci., 38: 1203.Google Scholar
- Oswald, I., Merrington., J, and Lewis, H., 1970, Cyclical “On Demand” oral intake by adults, Nature, 225: 959.Google Scholar
- Werntz, D.A., Bickford, R.G., Bloom, F.E., and Shannahoff-Khalsa, D.S., 1983, Alternating cerebral hemispheric activity and the lateralization of autonomic nervous function, Human Neurobiol., 2: 39.Google Scholar