The following is a summary of “Chronic Cough-Related Differences in Brain Morphometry in Adults: A Population-Based Study,” published in the July 2023 issue of the Chest by Arinze et al.
Individuals with cough hypersensitivity have enhanced central neural responses to tussive stimuli, possibly resulting in maladaptive morphometric alterations in the significant cough processing systems. Are there differences in the volume of brain regions implicated in cough hypersensitivity between adults with chronic cough and those without chronic cough? Participants in the Rotterdam Study, a population-based cohort, endured brain MRI and were interviewed for chronic cough, defined as at least three months of daily coughing. The regional cerebral volumes were measured using parcellation software.
Based on a literature review, the researchers identified and studied seven brain regions previously associated with altered functional brain activity in chronic cough. The association between chronic wheezing and regional brain volumes was analyzed using multivariable regression models. 9.6% (N = 349) of the 3,620 study participants (mean age, 68.5 ±9.0 years; 54.6% female) had a chronic cough. Participants with a chronic cough had significantly less anterior cingulate cortex volume than those without (mean difference, -126.16 mm3; 95% CI -246.67 to -6.68; P =.039).
The chronic cough did not significantly affect the volume of other brain regions except for the anterior cingulate cortex. The anterior cingulate cortex volume difference was more significant in the left hemisphere (mean difference, 88.11 mm3; 95% CI, -165.16 to -11.06; P=.025) and in male participants (mean difference, 242.58 mm3; 95% CI, -428.60 to -56.55; P=.011). The anterior cingulate cortex, which is involved in cough suppression, reduces volume in individuals with chronic cough.