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Drugs, Smoking and the Autonomic System

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1. Explain the difference between sympathomimetic drugs and sympatholytic drugs
2. Explain why smoking is a risk factor for heart disease in terms of the autonomic system
3. Why can the sympathetic division produce simultaneous effects throughout the body, but parasympathetic effects typically are localized to specific organs?

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I'll try to address these points briefly so you can use them as a starting point for your paper.

Sympathomimetic drugs mimic, as the term suggests, sympathetic actions. They're generally agents that are very similar to sympathetic signals by molecular nature, either in structure or what they can bind to. In contrast, sympatholytic drugs are those that act to disallow sympathetic action, typically by blocking the sympathetic signaling somehow. Usually this takes the form of sympathetic antagonism using an agent that either actively suppresses the SNS or is able to bind to sympathetic receptors (adrenaline receptors) but not trigger their action. In ...

Solution Summary

Briefly discussed are the topics:
Sympathomimetic vs. sympatholytic drugs
Why and how smoking increases a cardiovascular disease risk
Why sympathetic functions are widespread and simulataneous while parasympathetic is more specific

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3. Do some additional research to define "myocardial infarction risk." What do Gasperin et al. (2009) say about the relationship between stress and myocardial infarction risk?
4. Define "hypertension." Summarize the results reported by Gasperin et al. (2009) about stress and hypertension. What was successful in lowering hypertension?

Effect of psychological stress on blood pressure increase: a meta-analysis of cohort studies. Gasperin, D et al. 2009. Cad. Saúde Pública, Rio de Janeiro, 25(4):715-726

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