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More than 40 years have elapsed since the concept of the general adaptation syndrome (GAS) was introduced by Selye in a letter to the editor of Nature. It has since been widely studied, leading to nearly 100,000 publications in the medical and lay press. The essence of the idea is that a wide variety of nonspecific stimuli provoke a relatively stereotyped pattern of response marked by increased adrenal cortical secretion or even adrenal cortical hypertrophy. Selye regards a "stressor" to be any stimulus capable of leading to "general adaptation." The phenomenon of adaptation has become of major importance to neurologists in understanding some of the relationships between the hypothalamus, other parts of the nervous system, and the adrenal cortex, both in terms of normal function and the pathogenesis of a wide variety of diseases.
Selye intended this volume to be an encyclopedia dealing with many aspects of stress ranging from
Horenstein S. Stress in Health and Disease. Arch Neurol. 1977;34(3):202. doi:10.1001/archneur.1977.00500150088024
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