BrainImmune: Trends in Neuroendocrine Immunology features new concepts and viewpoints at the interface of neuroscience, endocrinology and immunology.
BrainImmune is the only web resource that delivers up to date information into the broad interdisciplinary area of neuroendocrine-immunology and stress-immune interactions, and their impact on health and disease.
Here, concise summaries and overviews describe how the brain and the immune system ‘talk to each other’ in order to maintain homeostasis.
We bring the latest developments in neuroendocrine immunology, reviewing new and advanced conceptual frameworks, and covering both the fundamental and clinical aspects in this vast interdisciplinary area.
Our goal is to advance a new field in medical science that has great potential and significance.
Our resource draws together concepts and ideas scattered in hundreds of scientific journals and derived from thousands of articles that impinge in some way on integrative neuroendocrine immunology and immunophysiology.
PHILOSOPHY and Brief History
The brain and the immune system, or the “supersystems”, a term coined by Tomio Tada (1997) are the two major adaptive systems of the body.
One of the paradoxes of medical sciences is building boundaries between disciplines and drawing dividing lines between research fields.
The more we share knowledge, the easier it is to break down barriers between scientific areas.
The immune system has been often regarded as autonomous. Neurosciences and immunology developed independently for many years, and the question of how the brain communicates with the immune system remained enigmatic until fairly recently.
It was probably Galen who first integrated the ‘immune system’ or ‘cancer’ with the person’s emotional and physiologic processes – circa 200 A.D. he wrote that melancholic women were more prone to develop ‘swellings’ of the breasts than were sanguine women.
Caleb Hillier Parry provided the first description of hyperthyroidism following stress. In August 1803 Caleb Parry’s patient, 21-year-old Elizabeth S., was pushed down the stairs in an out-of control wheelchair. From that time, it was said, she was “subject to palpitations of the heart and nervous troubles”. At the time she was “very much frightened, though not much hurt, but two weeks later she began to observe a swelling of her thyroid gland”.
But only the early 20th century brought the birth of modern neurosciences and immunology and the birth of stress research, when Walter Cannon and Hans Selye introduced the ‘Fight-or-Flight Response’ and the stress concept.
Later during the 20th century the evidence accumulated over several decades indicates that the central nervous system (CNS) receives messages from the immune system and vice versa messages from the brain regulate immune functions.
The reader will find more detailed information about the major figures, events, concepts and ideas that eventually brought together the fields of neuroscience, endocrinology and immunology in the ‘History’ section on the BrainImmune site.
STRESS and Stress-Immune Interactions
According to the American Institute of Stress, ‘stress’ is America’s #1 health problem, whereas two-thirds of all office visits to family physicians are due to stress-related symptoms (cf. the American Academy of Family Physicians).
BrainImmune is the first site covering stress-immune interactions, the interface of stress and immunity and the impact of stress on health and disease – an often overlooked and not quite understood area!
Stress like relativity is a scientific concept, which has suffered from the mixed blessing of being too well known and too little understood
– Hans Selye, 1980
Of note, we feature over 100 articles in this area, with more than 25 articles related to stress and cancer!
Concepts discussed here represent recent advances in the field; they are not available in medical textbooks, and, as a general rule, not taught at medical schools. Thus, the BrainImmune resource might serve not only as a useful foundation of knowledge for researchers & medical professionals, but also as an important educational tool for medical and PhDs students or postdoctoral research scientists and trainees worldwide.
BrainImmune’s aim is to narrow the information and conceptual gap at the interface of neurosciences and immunology. Our mission is to promote the progress, communication and collaborations in neuroendocrine immunology and stress-immunity research, and to speed up innovation in this vast interdisciplinary area.
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