Focus on stress

In the 100 years since Walter Cannon first described the role of the sympathetic nervous system in the “fight or flight” response1, we have learned a great deal about how animals respond to stress. Stress can be defined as any deviation from homeostasis (a term also coined by Cannon), and although often thought of as solely harmful, stress, and the body’s appropriate responses to it, serve important roles in maintaining health. The stress response involves intricate interactions between the CNS, the peripheral nervous system and the rest of the body. Although much is known about the peripheral response, research investigating the role of the brain, as well as its interactions with peripheral systems, has made great strides in recent years, especially with the advent of new technologies allowing greater manipulation…

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