Dynamics of Respiratory Patterns during Early Maturation

April 2, 2009
11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Halligan Conference Room 127
Speaker: Metin Akay


Epidemiologic studies have identified numerous environmental risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), e.g., prone sleeping position, overheating, maternal smoking. Post-mortem studies indicate that SIDS babies may have neurotransmitter receptor defects. The numbers and distributions of these receptors in the brainstem differ significantly in babies who died of SIDS compared to babies who died of chronic illnesses or accidents. We hypothesize that the neurotransmitter defects interfere with protective homeostatic responses to potentially life-threatening events (e.g. elevated body temperature and secondhand smoking) during early maturation. Thus, we focus on chronically instrumented rats to investigate the influence of nicotine exposure, elevated body temperature and specific brainstem nuclei’s inhibition on the upper airway and diaphragm EMG signals during early maturation.

In this presentation, we will discuss our recent finding about the influence of elevated body temperature and nicotine on the complexity of the upper airway and diaphragm EMG signals in juvenile and early adult rats. We believe that our approach may advance our understanding of the underlying process behind the mat-uration of premature and full-term babies by extracting the useful information from these complex signals. We also believe that these measurements may help predict such problems as SIDS and even obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Biographical sketch: Metin Akay received his B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey in 1981 and 1984, respectively and a Ph.D. degree from Rutgers University in 1990. He is currently a professor at the Harrington Department of Bioengineering at ASU. Akay has played a key role in promoting biomedical education in the world by writing and editing several books, editing several special issues of prestigious journals, including the Proc of IEEE, and giving several keynote and plenary talks at international conferences, symposiums and workshops relating to emerging technologies in biomedical engineering.

Akay is the founding editor-in-chief of the Biomedical Engineering Book Series published by the Wiley and IEEE Press and the Wiley Encyclopedia of Biomedical Engineering. He is also the steering committee chair of the IEEE Trans on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics.

Akay established the Annual International Summer School on Biocomplexity from Gene to System sponsored by the NSF and the IEEE EMBS and is the founding chair of the IEEE EMBS Special Topic Conference on Neural Engineering.

He is a recipient of the IEEE EMBS Early Career and Service awards as well the IEEE Third Millenium Medal and is a fellow of IEEE and the Institute of Physics. His Neural Engineering and Informatics Lab is interested in developing a MEMS Microphone Array for the Localization of Coronary Occlusions and a wearable system for monitoring motor functions in Parkinson and Post-Stroke Disease Subjects. In addition, his lab is currently investigating the effect of nicotine and elevated body temperature on the respiratory neural network during maturation.