Autonomic Function Working Group

Autonomic Function / Autonomic Nervous System Working Group


Briefly: Projects involving the autonomic nervous system (ANS)

History: The ANS W. G. began slowly in the 1980’s in Rochester MN and then at the U of TN-Memphis and has continued on since then. A number of individuals are involved primarily in the U. S. A.

Projects: Starting with ANS measures in patients undergoing organ transplantation, the areas studied have increased. Part of the ANS investigations related to correlations with Health Relate Quality of Life (QOL), being studied with a variety of medical conditions.

In the 1990’s studies examining traditional ANS measures supplemented by the then new technology of Heart Rate Variability.

New work after 2000 has focused on comparing traditional direct measures of autonomic function with new indirect measures of the and such as heart rate variability.

 Original Publications, chronologically:

Abell TL, Malagelada JRM, Lucas AL, Brown MC, Camilleri M, Go VL, Azpiroz F, Callaway CW, Kao PC, Zinsmeister AL, Huse D. Gastric electromechanical and neurohormonal function in anorexia nervosa. Gastroenterology. 1987: 93:958-965.

Gaber AO, Cardoso S, Pearson S, Abell TL, Gaber L, Hathaway D, Alakkad M, Cromer R. Improvement in autonomic function following combined pancreas-kidney transplantation. Transplantation Proceedings. 1991: 23;1660-1662, 1991.

Hathaway DK, Abell TL, Cardoso S, Hartwig D, Elmer D, Horton J, Lawrence l, Gaber L, Gaber AO. Improvement in autonomic function following pancreas-kidney versus kidney-alone transplantation. Transplantation Proceedings. 1993: 25; 1306-1308, 1993.

Hathaway DK, Abell TL, Cardoso S, Hartwig MS, Gebely SE, Gaber AO: Improvement in autonomic and gastric function following pancreas-kidney versus kidney-alone transplantation and the correlation with quality of life. Transplantation 1994: 57; 816-822.

Abell TL, Cardoso S, Schwartzbaum J, Familoni B, Wilson R, Massie D: Diabetic gastroparesis is associated with an abnormality in sympathetic innervation. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1994: 6; 241-247.

Aggarwal A, Cutts T, Abell T, Cardoso S, Familoni B, Bremer J, Karas J. Predominant symptoms in the Irritable bowel syndrome correlate with specific autonomic Gaber OA, Hathaway DK, Abell TL, Cardoso S, Hartwig MS, Gebely SE. Improved Autonomic and Gastric Function in Pancreas-Kidney vs. Kidney-Alone Transplantation Contributes to Quality of Life. Transplantation Proceedings. 1994: 26; 515-516.

Aggarwal A, Cutts T, Abell T, Cardoso S, Familoni B, Bremer J, Karas J. Predominant symptoms in the Irritable bowel syndrome correlate with specific autonomic nervous system abnormalities.  Gastroenterology. 1994: 106; 945-950.

Rashed H, Abell TL, Familoni BO, Cardoso S. Autonomic function in cyclic vomiting syndrome and classic migraine. Dig Dis Sci. 1999: 44; 74s-78s.

Jackson AL, Rashed H, Cardoso S, Wong F, Werkman R, Thompson J, Abell TL. Assessment of gastric electrical activity and autonomic function among diabetic and nondiabetic patients with symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux. Dig Dis Sci. 2000: 45; 1727-1730.

Rashed H, Cutts T, Abell TL, Cowings P, Toscano W, El-Gammal A, Adl D: Predictors of response to a behavioral treatment in patients with chronic gastric motility disorders. Dig Dis Sci. 2002: 47: 1020-1026.

Joy D. Hughes, Neeta G. Nayak, Naeem Aslam, Hani Rashed, Sergio Cardoso, Babajide Familoni, James G. Karas, David C. Shaver, Robert S. Egerman, Alan Wallstedt, Caroline A. Reily, Thomas L. Abell. Autonomic and Enteric Nervous System Dysfunction May Play a Role in Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Gastroenterol Res. 2015;8(1):153-156 doi:

Naeem Aslam, Archana Kedar, Harsha Nagarajarao, Kartika Reddy, Hani Rashed, Theresa Cutts, Caroline Riely, Thomas L. Abell. Serum Catecholamines and Dysautonomia in Diabetic Gastroparesis and Liver Cirrhosis. Am J Medical Sciences 2015;350(2):81-86. doi: 10.1097/MAJ.0000000000000523 PMID 26181082

Chen. Autonomic Evaluation of Patients With Gastroparesis and Neurostimulation: Comparisons of Direct/Systemic and Indirect/Cardiac Measures Gastroenterology Research 2016;9(1):10-16. PMID: 27785318

Mohammad MK, Pepper DJ, Kedar A, Bhaijee F, Familoni B, Rashed H, Cutts T, Abell TL. Measures of Autonomic Dysfunction in Diabetic and Idiopathic Gastroparesis. Gastroenterology Res. 2016 Oct;9(4-5):65-69. Epub 2016 Sep 20.


Review Articles:

Abrasley C, Abell TL. Autonomic Disorders of the Gastrointestinal Tract. Continuum Lifelong Learning Neurol 13 (6) pgs. 182-203, September 2007.

Book Chapters:

Parajouli, Abell [n/v chapter] in press—Nausea and Vomiting-Springer—Dec 16 (in press Jan 2017)



 Abstracts (numerous—available on request)

Conclusion: As of 2017 a number of ongoing studies are being pursued, including one funded by the Diabetes Complication group and which compares system autonomic function testing with heart rate variability in patients with Diabetic and Idiopathic gastroparesis, both at baseline and after temporary and permanent gastric stimulation.

Overall these studies have included over 2500 patients in the last 30 years.

[updated 22 January 2017 by TLAbell]

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