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September 1954

EXPERIMENTAL OBSERVATIONS ON "PSYCHOSOMATIC" MECHANISMS: I. Gastrointestinal Disturbances

Author Affiliations

LONG BEACH, CALIF.

From the Veterans Administration Hospital, Long Beach, and the Departments of Surgery and Anatomy, University of California School of Medicine at Los Angeles.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1954;72(3):267-281. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1954.02330030001001
Abstract

VISCERAL and somatic abnormalities suspected of resulting from disordered function of the normal brain have long been known as "psychosomatic" diseases or, perhaps, diseases of "stress." Opinion exists, indeed, that a great many diseases result from, or are strongly influenced by, psychological reactions unsuitable to normal existence. Even expressions of a more conservative attitude concede, with some consistency, a connection between cerebral function and certain visceral ailments, prominent among which are peptic ulcer, hypertension, and ulcerative colitis. Speculation concerning possible relationship between cause and effect in such instances has resulted principally from clinical analysis of these disorders, particularly from the results of therapeutic attack on the autonomic nervous system in patients suffering from them.

For obvious reasons, examination of "psychosomatic" disorders in experimental animals is extremely difficult. Intercommunication between examiner and subject is impossible and extrapolation of observation to man hazardous. Moreover, disorders of the nature of those used as

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