The Brain, Homeostasis, and Health: Balancing Demands of the Internal and External Milieu

John T. Cacioppo and Gary G. Berntson

in The Oxford Handbook of Health Psychology

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195342819
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 The Brain, Homeostasis, and Health: Balancing Demands of the Internal and External Milieu

Show Summary Details


Communications among the nervous system, neuroendocrine system, and immune system are bidirectional to better balance the demands of the internal and external milieu. By producing feelings of fever and fatigue, not only is the immune system better able to defend against an infection (e.g., invading microbes do not flourish at elevated body temperatures), but the individual who, due to fever and fatigue, withdraws from daily stresses to the comfort of his or her bedroom also diminishes the release of neural and hormonal signals that can compromise immune function. This chapter traces the historical development of integrative principles regarding the regulatory and restorative forces of the autonomic nervous system, neuroendocrine function, and immune actions, and their modulation by the brain in transaction with the environment. The intention is to examine from a global perspective how the brain integrates the regulatory and restorative processes of the body to foster health and adaptation to environmental challenges.

Keywords: Autonomic nervous system; neuroendocrine system; immune system; brain function; regulatory process; restorative process; homeostasis; allostasis

Article.  12831 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Health Psychology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.