Neuroendocrine Disorders in Children – Chapter 15: The Effect of Stress on the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis (ebook)


Chapter 15 – The Effect of Stress on the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis: An Update

Life exists through maintenance of a complex dynamic equilibrium, termed ‘homeostasis’ or ‘eustasis’, which is constantly challenged by intrinsic or extrinsic, real or perceived, adverse forces, the ‘stressors’. ‘Stress’ is defined as a state of threatened, or perceived as threatened, homeostasis. The human body and mind react to stress by activating a complex repertoire of physiologic and behavioural central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral adaptive responses, which, if inadequate, excessive or prolonged, may affect development and behaviour, and may have adverse consequences on physiologic functions, such as growth, metabolism, circulation, reproduction and the inflammatory/immune response. This chronic dynamic state in which the adaptive response fails to fully reestablish homeostasis during stress is called ‘dyshomeostasis’ or ‘cacostasis’, and may have detrimental  effects on the organism, including dysphoria of various forms, development of chronic disease and curtailment of life expectancy. Of course, stress is not always bad (distress); it might actually be beneficial, resulting in an improved steady state called ‘hyperstasis’ characterised by a better quality of life and prolonged life expectancy.

About the book

Impairments in the interaction between the central nervous system and the endocrine system can lead to a number of disorders in children.  These include type 1 diabetes, growth disorders, adrenal thyroid and pituitary problems, Addison’s disease and Cushing syndrome, among others.

Neuroendocrine Disorders in Children provides a comprehensive examination of paediatric and adolescent disorders focusing on the basic science and its clinical relevance. Complex issues are discussed in an easy-to-follow manner and the latest developments in the area are reviewed.

Read the full book review by Ieuan Hughes published in DMCN.

Readership: paediatric endocrinologists, paediatric and adult neurologists and trainee paediatricians.