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Allostatic Regulation in Physiology and Pathophysiology
Homeostasis, a key concept in biology, refers to the tendency toward
stability in the various bodily states that make up the internal
environment. Examples include temperature regulation and oxygen
consumption. The body's needs, however, do not remain constant. When an
organism is under stress, the central nervous system works with the
endocrine system to use resources to maintain the overall viability of
the organism. The process accelerates the various systems' defenses of
bodily viability, but can violate short-term homeostasis. This
allostatic regulation highlights our ability to anticipate, adapt to,
and cope with impending future events.
In Rethinking Homeostasis, Jay Schulkin defines and explores many
aspects of allostasis, including the wear and tear on tissues and
accelerated pathophysiology caused by allostatic overload. Focusing on
the concept of motivation and its relationship to the central nervous
system function and specific hormonal systems, he applies a
neuroendocrine perspective to central motive states such as cravings for
water, sodium, food, sex, and drugs. He examines in detail the bodily
consequences of the behavioral and neuroendocrine regulation of fear and
adversity, the endocrine regulation of normal and preterm birth, and the
effects of drug addiction on the body. Schulkin's presentation of
allostasis lays the foundation for further study.
Jay Schulkin is Research Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at
Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is the author of Roots of
Social Sensibility and Neural Function (MIT Press, 2000).
6 x 9, 288 pp., 58 illus., cloth, ISBN 0-262-19480-5
A Bradford Book