- Autonomic Imbalance and the Hypothalamus: Implications for Physiology, Medicine, Psychology, and Neurophysiology by Ernst Gellhorn, M.D., Ph.D. (review)
- Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 1, Number 4, Summer 1958
- pp. 459-460
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precision, die caloric equivalent of weight differences can be estimated (cf. J. Brozek et al., J. Appl. Physiol., 10:412, 1957). (2) The amounts offat and the fat-free body mass may be estimated on the basis ofdeterminations ofbody density, total body water and its major fractions, basal oxygen consumption, and urinary creatinine excretion. The total body fat may be predicted from somatometric data (skin folds) and from soft-tissue roentgenograms. The strength ofthe work ofDr. Macy and her co-workers in Chemical Anthropology lies in the meticulous recording offood intake, followed by detailed chemical analysis of duplicate meals and combined widi die collection and chemical analysis of the excreta. The balance studies were made for periods of95, 225, and 55 days—a Herculean labor! The metabolic balances provided detailed information on the storage ofnitrogen (considered as evidence of protoplasmic mass, i.e., protein) and of minerals. A variety of anthropometric, physiological, and odier biochemical data were also collected. The subjects ofthe study were average healdiy children between the ages offour and twelve years. The authors mention die small size ofdie age group diat was studied and the fact that the present monograph is based primarily on data for boys. Most ofdie data are presented for die age categories four to six, seven to nine, and ten to twelve years. Unfortunately, the actual number of individuals in these subgroups is not given, nor is there any indication of die extent to which the tabular data are based on a truly longitudinal approach (same group studied over a period ofyears). The figures given on page 10 are not adequate for this purpose. This is a stimulating book. It brings into focus the problem ofbody composition as a fundamental facet of man's physique, changing importantly dirough die human lifecycle , open to a variety ofapproaches (anatomic, somatometric, radiologic, biochemical, physiological), and rich in biological significance and medical implications, only very incompletely explored up to the present time. The authors are at home in the field of metabolic balance studies. They had to depend on secondhand information in regard to the newer techniques for the breakdown ofbody weight into its components. No actual measurements ofbodydensity or total bodywater weremade. Data available in die literature are relatively meager and not always dependable. Comprehensive studies that employ several techniques simultaneously are lacking. This reviewer has die uneasy feeling that the section on body composition, intended as the core ofthe present volume, was written some five years too early. Josef Brozek University ofMinnesota Autonomic Imbalance and the Hypothalamus: Implicationsfor Physiology, Medicine, Psychology , and Neurophysiology. By Ernst Gellhorn, M.D., Ph.D. Minneapolis: University ofMinnesota Press, 1957. Pp. xiv + 300; 101 figs.; 13 tables. $8.50. This volume is an extension of Gellhom's earlier studies on Autonomic Regulations (1943) and Physiological Foundations of Neurology and Psychiatry (1953). Although the book is inevitably based upon published material, a considerable portion ofthe data is 459 presented for the first time and, ofthe ??? illustrations, 70 are said to be from unpublished investigations. Gellhorn's main thesis is that "the hypodialamus exerts a profound influence on the cerebral cortex as a whole." In the first part of the text he deals with experimental investigations on hypodialamic excitability, as affected by neurogenic and hormonal discharges ; the tone ofskeletal muscle; respiratory and other visceral reflexes; and the hypothalamic -cortical system and its relation to hypothalamic imbalance. In the second part he takes up the experimental foundation and clinical application of the concept ofparasympathetic and sympadietic tuning and die measurement ofhypothalamic imbalance in the intact organism, He concludes diat "any alteration in hypodialamic balance may lead to changes in [these] fundamental elements of behavior and thereby to profound disturbances ofthe personality." Further, "behavioral disturbances that accompany states of hypothalamic imbalance may be related to the quantitative and qualitativealterations that must occur in the cortico-hypothalamic and hypothalamic-cortical discharges," and "the restitution of the emotional balance through psychotherapy is probably accomplished via cortico-hypothalamic pathways." Although his scholarly caution compels him to insert "may be" and "probably," Gellhorn ably defends his thesis. It is to be regretted that Gellhorn feels that he is at the end ofhis very fruitful investigative career. Here and...