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Question:

From Santa Rosa, California, USA:

Have there been any studies done concerning juvenile diabetes and functioning of the parasympathetic nervous system? I tested my 12-year old daughter's blood pressure and pulse in the grocery store, and her pulse rate showed to be 105. I told her pediatrician who did not seem to be too concerned by that. She gets a goodly amount of exercise. It seems to me that it would be very beneficial to try methods of enhancing the parasympathetic nervous system like yoga, certain types of music, massage, diet, etc. I believe there have been studies that have shown a decrease in blood sugars using biofeedback techniques. I think there are drugs that help the parasympathetic nerves, but I don't know much about that at this point.

Do you have any opinions about this idea? Do you know of anything contraindicative? I am going to ask the diabetes specialist what he thinks, but I'd like to try and get some background information first.

Answer:

Some elevation of pulse and systolic blood pressure is common if the environment in which it is measured is at all stressful. So like your pediatrician I would not be concerned about that single pulse rate reading of 105/minute.

Pathology of the autonomic nervous system is very uncommon indeed below the age of 15 and really only seen in young adults where control has been very poor. There is of course an immense research literature on this theme. At age 12 most pediatricians and pediatric endocrinologists would suggest that the important thing is to concentrate on achieving the best possible control using orthodox approaches and all that may be needed in the way of new insulins, intensive therapy, sliding scales and lots of blood sugars.

Diet, of course has an important role in this. Personally, though, I am not an advocate of yoga, massage therapy and the use of music as an integral component of control, though I can accept that in some young people the relaxation they bring may be of genuine value in reducing stress in the teen years and in consequence of helping to achieve good control.

DO'B

Original posting 16 Jan 97

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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