Autonomous nervous system dysfunction

Tom E. Nightingale, Ulrich Mehnert, Thomas Kessler, Andrei Krassioukov

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter provides a brief description of the structure and function of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which is responsible for the involuntary control of visceral organs throughout the human body. The ANS has three main divisions: sympathetic, parasympathetic, and enteric. These continuously monitor and control cardiovascular, bronchopulmonary, sexual, thermoregulatory, lower urinary, and gastrointestinal tract functions. Normally the response of these systems to exercise, environmental challenges, and emotional stress are intricately regulated. ANS dysfunction is commonly prevalent in patients with various neurodegenerative disorders. These can present due to either central or peripheral nervous system aetiologies. In order to determine a correct prognosis for these patients, accurate assessment techniques, described herein, are necessary. The underlying causes of specific autonomic system disorders are also discussed, along with descriptions of various treatment strategies. Medical advances in the field of neurorehabilitation now also provide promising alternative options to address autonomic dysfunctions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Textbook of Neurorehabilitation
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198824954
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2020


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