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Histamine (HA) is a biogenic amine, providing a number of functional roles throughout the body. HA release triggers inflammatory responses as a protective reaction against foreign pathogens. Released from basophils and mast cells in the periphery, HA causes increased vascular permeability and dilation of blood vessels to allow increased fluid infiltration into tissues which in turn induces swelling. Research designed to test the role of HA in mediating central nervous system (CNS) activity demonstrated that HA immunoreactive brain neurons actively fire action potentials and release HA during the wake phase but are essentially silent during sleep, supporting the hypothesis that increased HA tone is related to levels of wakefulness. Results of experiments investigating the effects of HA in the CNS, either through direct injection of HA or through pharmacological inhibition of its synthesis, show that increases in HA are positively correlated with amounts of wakefulness.
Sleep Deprivation, Stimulant Medications, and Cognition provides a review, synthesis and analysis of the scientific literature concerning stimulant medications and neurobehavioral performance, with an emphasis on critically evaluating the practical utility of these agents for maintaining cognitive performance and alertness in sleep-deprived (but otherwise healthy) individuals. The book explores the nature of sleep loss-induced cognitive deficits, neurophysiologic basis of these deficits, relative efficacy and limitations of various interventions (including non-pharmacological), and implications for applying these interventions in operational environments (commercial and military). Readers of this volume will gain a working knowledge of:Mechanisms contributing to sleep loss-induced cognitive deficits Differential effects of stimulant compounds on various aspects of cognitionConsiderations (such as abuse liability) when applying stimulant interventions in operational settingsCurrent state and future directions for including stimulants in comprehensive fatigue-management strategies. This text is key reading for researchers and trainees in sleep and psychopharmacology.