Diseases of the neurovegetative system

Pubblicato il 14/06/2022

What they are

Diseases of the neuro-vegetative system concern that part of the nervous system which regulates all the physiological processes in our body: control of blood pressure and heart rate, digestion, regulation of body temperature, sexual and urinary function, etc.


Since the vegetative nervous system performs several functions, the symptoms can be diverse and attributable to either a deficit or overactivity of the system, such as sudden changes in blood pressure or heart rate (especially when associated), sudden changes in pressure when moving from lying to standing with dizziness, severe gastrointestinal disturbances, changes in sweating and thermoregulation, changes in urinary function (retention/incontinence), etc.


Diseases of the autonomic nervous system may be related to complex
diseases (examples) or may be the consequence of repeated and persistent stress, both physical (e.g. sleep apnoea) and psychosocial.


Diagnosis of an impairment of the autonomic nervous system is based on a careful collection of information from the patient's medical history (anamnesis) combined with a detailed clinical examination and a series of tests to measure blood pressure or other functions controlling the autonomic nervous system.


As mentioned, diseases of the autonomic nervous system can be caused by other potentially treatable diseases. The first approach to treatment therefore involves an investigation to rule out the presence of any other diseases or side effects from drugs already taken by the patient. A second approach involves the doctor instructing the patient on behavioural measures to be taken to keep the most disabling symptoms under control. As a last resort, several drugs are available to control and manage the symptoms.

A few figures

Although impairments of the autonomic nervous system are far from rare, the non-specificity of symptoms and the lack of awareness of these conditions among doctors and patients often result in these conditions being underdiagnosed and underestimated, and there is a considerable delay in diagnosing them. It is estimated that over 70 million people worldwide have various forms of impairment of the vegetative nervous system. They can affect people of all ages and genders indiscriminately.

The Research Centre Diseases of the Vegetative Nervous System

The Research Centre for Diseases of the Vegetative Nervous System and Stress-Related Diseases was established in 1985 and has an outpatient clinic offering

  • first examinations and controls
  • diagnostic tests
  • information resources for patients
  • personalised therapy


For further information

Tel.: 051-496.69.90 (9am to 1pm, Monday to Friday)


Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna (ISNB)
Padiglione G of the Bellaria Hospital, first floorvia
Altura 1/8, Bologna

The team

Pietro Cortelli, neurologist and director of the Centre
Giorgio Barletta, neurophysiopathology technician

Francesca Baschieri, neurologist
Giovanna Calandra-Buonaura, neurologist
Annagrazia Cecere, neurophysiopathology technician
Pietro Guaraldi, neurologist
Laura Solieri, neurophysiopathology technician

The Operational Units of Reference

Neurological Clinic


In 2018, researchers at the Centre helped discover a new disease very similar to Parkinson's and the gene responsible for it. The discovery is crucial for Parkinson's studies because understanding how the defective gene works can offer numerous insights into the molecular mechanisms of Parkinson's and thus pave the way for identifying new drug therapies that can stop the disease and not just treat its symptoms.