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Handbook of the Autonomic Nervous System in Health and Disease

2002 Edition, October 29, 2002

Complete Document

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Active, Most Current

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ISBN: 978-0-8247-0842-9
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Product Details:

  • Revision: 2002 Edition, October 29, 2002
  • Published Date: October 29, 2002
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: CRC Press (CRC)
  • Page Count: 693
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:


The autonomic nervous system (ANS) consists of an integrated neuronal network that reaches all organs and tissues and is essential for the maintenance of homeostasis. The ANS ensures rapid adjustment of biological functions that are crucial for survival, adaptation, and evolution. It integrates afferent information that originates from both the environment and the internal milieu and, through its efferent pathways, regulates the functions of various organs and systems according to the needs of the organism. Because of its role in the regulation of biological functions that are essential to life, the ANS was the subject of some of the earliest research work in neurology and neuroscience. The earliest recorded reference to the visceral nervous system was made by Galen in the second century. The considerable amount of neuroanatomical and neurophysiological work performed over the last 18 centuries has helped elucidate the structure and key functions of the ANS. However, much remains to be done.

Recent progress in molecular medicine and imaging has led to new approaches in neuroscience research and has provided elegant descriptions of the ANS and its functions. Increasingly sophisticated approaches using the tools of contemporary biology have allowed the molecular dissection of the mechanisms through which the ANS ensures rapid and effective integration between the central nervous system and visceral inputs, thereby establishing and maintaining homeostasis.

Dysregulation of such a key system is associated with disease either linked to a primary ANS dysfunction or as an element in the pathophysiology of complex disorders such as cardiovascular diseases, asthma, and depression. The role of the ANS in disease goes beyond primary and secondary dysfunction. Pharmacological approaches to important diseases are based on drugs that are agonists and antagonists of various components of ANS function. The treatment of conditions that are highly prevalent and represent public health problems worldwide involves the use of drugs that modulate ANS function. Such diseases include various types of cardiovascular disorders, such as hypertension, heart failure, arrhythmias, ischemia, and myocardial infarction, as well as conditions such as asthma, diabetes, urinary retention, and shock. Thus, a better understanding of ANS biology and further work in this field will lead to improved knowledge of biology, pathophysiology, and pathogenesis in general. It will also lead to more efficacious treatment for human diseases of major public health significance.

The volume includes views from leading scientists in the field of ANS research dealing with both classical neuroanatomical and neurochemical issues. It also discusses some less traditional aspects of the molecular organization of the ANS and its participation in functions such as sleep, thermoregulation, and neuroendocrine and neuroimmune control in health and in disease, including novel data on the role of the ANS in depression. Of particular interest is the discussion by various contributors of the ANS and cardiovascular disease, including modern clinical techniques used to study and analyze ANS function in the affected patient.

This book offers a comprehensive view of the status of current research on the autonomic nervous system, directions for future investigation, and implications for clinical medicine and public health. It is a progress report on ANS research and its implications for health and disease.