- Psychiatric Annals
- August 2010 - Volume 40 · Issue 8: 367-380
All of the major body systems maintain direct, two-way communication with the brain. Moreover, the brain continuously regulates the activity of these systems to optimize the body’s ability to respond to environmental and internal challenges. Because the brain is able to exert profound effects on the peripheral organ systems, it is not surprising that changes in mental processes, including stress exposure and psychiatric disorders, alter the internal physiological milieu and influence medical outcomes. This article focuses on the brain’s effects upon five basic homeostatic systems, which represent critical battlegrounds on which the outcome of many medical conditions are decided. These systems include the immune system, the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, the gastrointestinal (GI) system, and the integumentary system (skin).
George I. Viamontes, MD, PhD, is Regional Medical Director, OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions, St. Louis, MO. Charles B. Nemeroff, MD, PhD, is Leonard M. Miller Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami.
Dr. Viamontes has disclosed no relevant financial relationships. Dr. Nemeroff has disclosed the following relevant financial relationships: NovaDel Pharma, Mt. Cook Pharma; Member of Board of Directors; AstraZeneca, PharmaNeuroboost, and CeNeRx: Member of Scientific Advisory Board; and NovaDel Pharma, PharmaNeuroboost, Corcept, and CeNeRx: Shareholder.
A note from the editors: All illustrations in this article have been created by George I. Viamontes, MD, PhD, for specific use in this issue of Psychiatric Annals. Copyright G. Viamontes and C. Nemeroff 2010; copyright is transferred to the publisher; used with permission.
Address correspondence to: George I. Viamontes, MD, PhD; e-mail .firstname.lastname@example.org