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Although the anatomy of the autonomic nervous system has been well known since the classic description of Langley in 1893, an understanding of its function in relation to disease is of more recent origin. Uniting the central nervous system, particularly the corticohypothalamic centers, with the viscera, the linking nerves establish a unit of activity that forms the basis for the modern concept of psychosomatic medicine. Recent stimulus to explore its physiological action came as the result of investigations on hypertension by Peet in 1935. The development of the concept of neurohumoral transmission of the nerve impules by Dale and Loewi and the growth of the pharmacological approach to the study of autonomic function, with the resultant host of pharmaceutical products, cholinergic and adrenergic in action, occurred independently. To understand these developments and the principles of autonomic medicine, the author has assembled the pertinent anatomic and clinical data into a readable
Clinical Aspects of the Autonomic Nervous System. JAMA. 1955;157(5):483. doi:10.1001/jama.1955.02950220077043