why do we vomit when we are sick
Puke, vomit, barf, chunderchunks. Whatever you call it, most of
us have done it. It's pretty disgusting, but usually it's helpful. Often, we need to be sick to get rid of something harmful in our stomach. What is sick? Sick is half-digested food mixed with spit, slimy stomach mucus and other stomach juices. Mmm! Why are we sick? Normally you are sick if you have a virus or bacteria in your stomach or intestines. Your body wants to get rid of them the fastest way it knows how - puking! Sometimes people are sick if they are nervous, travelling or go on a fast ride in a theme park. Did you know? When you vomit, your body produces more saliva.
This helps to protect your teeth from stomach acid. How are we sick? Your brain sends a message to your diaphragm, stomach muscles and intestine muscles saying "get rid of that food! " The muscles in your stomach and intestines push food towards your mouth instead of down towards your intestines. The bad smell is due to stomach acids and a chemical called bile. Bile helps to digest fatty foods. When you puke, bile can come up along with the half-digested food. It smells pretty bad! This work has built up a kind of nice and simple picture of a mechanism of rotavirus causes vomiting and diarrhea.
They have shown that the virus is able to enter and replicate inside epithelial cells and endcocrine cells lining the gut; they showed that this led to the release of serotonin - the stimulator of vomiting/diarrhea - and that this was down to NSP4 synthesis and release and finally that mice infected with rotavirus activated brain regions associated with vomiting and diarrhea. The model: (see above) - Rotavirus infects gut cells - expresses and releases NSP4 - NSP4 stimulates calcium signalling and serotonin release from nearby EC cells - serotonin stimulates close by neurons that activate vomiting/diarrhea areas of the brain, which causes serious fluid loss, dehydration and subsequent death.
Also this results in rapid spread of virus particles and transmission of infection. The good thing is now, with this mechanism at hand, we may be able to partially inhibit this response and save the lives of many children and prevent the spread of rotavirus in these populations. Luckily for us, a number of generic - and hence cheap - already in use anti-sickness tablets (serotonin receptor antagonists) exist and could be applied in this setting. Although previous research had, this paper established a working mechanism for its activity.
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