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Researchers Discover Vagus Nerve Plays Vital Role in Exercise Regulation

Researchers at the University of Auckland, led by Physiology Associate Professor Rohit Ramchandra, discovered a novel role for the vagus nerve in exercise regulation. Contrary to the belief that parasympathetic nervous system activity decreases during exercise, their study on exercising sheep revealed an increase in cardiac vagal nerve activity. Denervation impaired heart function, suggesting a crucial role for the vagus nerve in exercise, possibly through vasoactive intestinal peptide release. This finding may have implications for improving exercise tolerance in heart failure patients.

Ramchandra joined Junior Science Editor Rhianna-lily Smith from Technology Networks to discuss the findings of the study and reveal what implications these findings may have on the future of medicine.