Introduction

Hello and Welcome,

The goals of this blog are first, to answer questions about the material in the book. This book is intended for the general, lay reader and so if something is not clear, please post questions. If it is not clear to one person, it is likely not clear to some others as well. The second goal is to provide updates on the topics in the book from the ongoing, current literature. The field of neuro-immune interactions is moving very quickly now, and so much progress is being made it will be fun and interesting to summarize new work every few days or so. However, if I do not get any feedback here, I will have to assume that no one is reading the blog and will eventually stop updating the site.

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2 Responses to Introduction

  1. Grace says:

    Hi Paul, Thank you for encouraging us lay folks to ask questions. My first question is through what mechanism does the brain affect our immune system? What’s the connection? I know the brain is connected to the nervous system and I know there are neural systems that control involuntary events in our bodies. I have some biochem and toxicology background, a little, teeny neurobiology, but not tons of human biology. I have tons of chemistry background šŸ™‚ So, maybe I am not sooo “lay”! šŸ™‚ Thanks!

    • phpatterson says:

      Thx Grace. There are both direct and indirect connections between the brain and the immune system. In Chap. 2 I describe a direct pathway in which sympathetic nerves actually make synapses on immune organs including bone marrow, spleen and lymph nodes. This connection can stimulate the innate immune system, which could be important for wound healing, as the sympathetic system also controls the “flight or fight” response. A more indirect influence on the immune system is through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Stimulation of this pathway causes the release of cortisol, which suppresses the immune system – this is why this hormone can be used to treat inflammatory disorders such as asthma and arthritis. It also helps explain why patients with major depression, who have elevated cortisol, often display inadequate immune responses.
      Cheers, PHP

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