Saturday, August 25, 2012

Yawning and Brain Cooling

Did you know that yawning has been found to be contagious among humans, chimps, and dogs, and may be a behavior indicating a capacity for empathy? Not only that, researchers at Princeton University’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, think yawning may actually function as a ventilation system. The study’s authors hypothesize that the thin posterior wall of the maxillary sinus may flex during yawning, operating like a bellows pump, actively ventilating the sinus system and facilitating brain cooling. The influx of cool air that occurs when you yawn helps to cool and increase blood flow in the neck, face, sinuses and head; which together act like a radiator to cool the brain.

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