Physiology, unlike most biological sciences, is characterized less by methods of study than by its goal, the understanding of the complex interactions at the cellular and organismic levels. Ever since Claude Bernard’s introduction of the concept of homeostasis as a basic principle of survival, biological scientists have attempted to integrate mechanisms characteristic of organs and systems to explain the overall functioning of the whole animal. This book is dedicated to the memory of the distinguished Canadian physiology J.A.F. Stevenson, who maintained in his teaching and research activities a holistic approach to the study of physiological regulations and life processes. Two of the book’s introductory essays are tributes by men who remember James Stevenson as a scientist and as a friend. The third gives a sketch of early studies of physiological regulations.
The twenty-four remaining articles serve as examples of integrated physiological regulations with special attention paid to the role of the hypothalamus and limbic systems. Extensive reviews of the anatomical and chemical foundations of neural systems controlling vegetative functions and behaviour, and several articles dealing with aspects of neural and endocrine control of energy and water balance, are highlights of this volume. It also deals with central control of the respiratory system, pituitary hormones, body temperature, growth, and sexual behaviour. The final chapter presents the clinical correlates of disturbed physiological regulations as seen in human pathological conditions associated with hypothalamic and limbic lesions. Because of its intrinsically multidisciplinary nature this book should appeal to a wide variety of readers, including physiologists, anatomists, experimental neurologists, physiological psychologists, psychiatrists and neurosurgeons.