Homeostasis as a concept and term was introduced by the American physiologist WalterCannon and refers to the stability of the inner world, or the various bodily states that make up the internal environment. Examples include for example temperature regulation and oxygen consumption Homeostasis, was a direct extension from Claude Bernard’s of the milieu intérieur.
According to Cannon, the brain coordinates body systems, with the aim of maintaining a set of goal values for key internal variables. Internal or external disturbances threatening homeostasis, by causing large enough deviations from the goal values, arouse internal nervous and hormone systems, induce emotional and motivational states, and generate externally observable behaviors, all of which have the goal of reestablishing homeostasis. According to the more recent concept of allostasis, however, no single set of ideal values exists for levels of internal variables.
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.
Rethinking Homeostasis focuses on the concept of motivation and its relationship to the central nervous system function and specific hormonal systems. Schulkin 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.
Book’s chapters are listed below: Contents:
- Allostasis: The Emergence of a Concept
- Central Motive States: Feedforward Neuroendocrine Systems in the Brain
- Anticipation, Angst, Allostatic Regulation: Adrenal Steroid Regulation of Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
- Normal and Pathological Facilitation of Parturition by a Feedforward Endocrine Mechanism
- Addiction to Drugs: Allostatic Regulation under Duress
Series: MIT Press Hardcover: 288 pages; Publisher: A Bradford Book (January 31, 2003)