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Allergy and the Nervous System

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1. Auflage, 2012


In recent decades, it has become increasingly clear that the immune and nervous systems communicate with each other in a bidirectional way. The role of chronic stress in allergic disease and inflammation has been confirmed and raises the important question of how psychosocial factors influence the outcome of allergic conditions. This book explains the roles of the autonomic, peripheral and central nervous systems in allergy and asthma. With contributions from leading authorities - both clinicians and basic researchers - it covers a wide range of topics from psychology over epigenetics to brain imaging. The 15 invited reviews discuss topics such as the role of stress in allergy and asthma, the concept of programming in utero and in childhood and adulthood, the significance of neurotrophins, and the involvement of the nervous system in the lung in asthma and lung inflammation. The interactions between mast cells and the nervous system are examined as well as the role of the gut microbiome in regulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the stress response. Further chapters are devoted to neural and behavioral changes associated with food allergy, the role of the neuroendocrine system in the skin, and the way in which itch is processed by the brain. Unique in its field, this valuable volume is recommended reading not only for allergologists, psychologists specializing in allergy and somatic manifestations, respirologists and asthma researchers, but for anyone interested in psychoneuroimmunology.
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