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Première conférence internationale sur le bâillement
First International Conference on Yawning
Paris 24 - 25 juin 2010
Galerie des Photos de FICY
 fiorenza giganti
Yawning across the life span
Fiorenza Giganti, Piero Salzarulo
Sleep Lab. Dept. of Psychology - University of Florence, Firenze, Italy
Yawning is a behaviour beginning in the first epochs of life. It has been observed not only in infants and in newborns, but also in foetuses of 12-14 weeks of gestational age.
Yawning frequency changes across the life span. In preterm infants the number of yawns decreases between 31 and 40 weeks of post-conceptional age, mainly during the day. In this period of life yawn is an isolated behaviour rarely occurring in burst and its the frequency is quite low with respect to the adult.
The incidence of yawns seem increase when children attend the elementary school, whereas in the elderly the number of yawns is reduced. Aged subjects yawn less than young people mainly during morning and mid-afternoon hours. As in the adult also in the elderly the time course of yawning is associated with the time course of sleepiness excepted at the awakening when the high frequency of yawns is not associated to high sleepiness.
Both in the adult and in the elderly yawning frequency increases in the early morning and in the late evening, whereas at the earliest stages of development (foetuses and preterm infants) yawns do not show diurnal variations.
Yawning seem to be involved in the modulation of arousal process across the whole life span. In preterm infants yawning is often followed by motor activation and it is more common during the waking than sleep; in the adult and in the elderly yawning occurs mainly at the sleep onset and at the awakening.
(F. Giganti, P.Salzarulo and V. Uga)
Carlo Alberto Tassinari; Fiorenza Giganti