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In the history of Russian medicine, the laudable intuition that the nervous system is of major importance in human disease can be traced far back into the 19th century. However, studies guided by this point of view, such as those of Speransky, have for the most part been difficult to evaluate and frustrating in the weakness of their experimental design. In Western medicine, widespread recognition of the role of the nervous system in disease has been possible only since the focus on isolated, localized, cellular alterations as pathological mechanisms has been supplemented by concern with the interactions of the whole individual with his environment and recognition of the largely indirect but central importance of the nervous system in integrating the body's defensive and adaptive reactions.
In this volume, extensive experiments by a sizeable group of investigators are described that are concerned with the inadequately understood chain of events by which