Allostasis, Allostatic Load
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The process by which the body responds to stressors in order to regain homeostasis.
Allostasis: Achieving stability through change; the ability to adapt successfully to the challenges of daily life by feedforward mechanisms to maintain viability, emphasizing the biological imperative that “an organism must vary all the parameters of its internal milieu and match them appropriately to environmental demands” (Sterling and Eyer 1988). This is an extension of homeostasis, that is, stability through constancy, maintaining constancy of a vital variable by sensing its deviation from a set point and providing feedback to correct the error. Allostasis describes mechanisms that change the variable by predicting what level will be needed and then overriding local feedback to meet anticipated demand (Sterling 2004). As such mechanisms require higher brain functions, in most cases, the allostasis deals with cephalic involvement in systemic physiological regulation, including...
References and Further Reading
- McEwen, B. S. (1998). Protective and damaging effects of stress mediators. New England Journal of Medicine, 338, 171–179.
- McEwen, B. S. (2000). Allostasis and allostatic load: Implications for neuropsychopharmacology. Neuropsychopharmacology, 22, 108–124.
- McEwen, B. S. (2004). Protective and damaging effects of the mediators of stress and adaptation: Allostasis and allostatic load. In J. Schulkin (Ed.), Allostasis, homeostasis, and the cost of physiological adaptation. New York: Cambridge University Press.
- Singer, B., Ryff, C. D., & Seeman, T. (2004). Operationalizing allostatic load. In J. Schulkin (Ed.), Allostasis, homeostasis, and the cost of physiological adaptation. New York: Cambridge University Press.
- Sterling, P. (2004). Principles of allostasis: Optimal design, predictive regulation, pathophysiology, and rational therapeutics. In J. Schulkin (Ed.), Allostasis, homeostasis, and the cost of physiological adaptation. New York: Cambridge University Press.
- Sterling, P., & Eyer, J. (1988). Allostasis: A new paradigm to explain arousal pathology. In S. Fisher & J. Reason (Eds.), Handbook of life stress, cognition, and health. New York: Wiley.