Formative Years as an Investigator of Hypothalamic-Pituitary Physiology

  • Seymour Reichlin
Part of the Perspectives in Neuroendocrine Research book series (PNR, volume 2)


As I see it now, my interest in neuroendocrinology arose from two elements, the first being a general and intense curiosity in natural history and about how living things work and the second a specific concern with the mechanism by which stress causes illness. Both elements were well established by my early teens, the first by exposure to high school courses in biology and the second by my concern over my father’s angina, which clearly seemed related to life stress. These factors determined my choice of medicine as a career, sensitized me to the significance of the stress response, and established my outlook in experimental science as that of a physician looking for solutions to disease in disturbances of central nervous system function. In college, I learned of Cannon’s view of homeostasis, and of his formulation of the “fight or flight” description of the response to stress. I also became aware of voodoo death and other popularized psychosomatic phenomena. My first effort in neuroendocrine research logically followed this theme, for at Antioch College in 1943 I chose to repeat the original chemical synthesis of epinephrine as my junior year thesis project in organic chemistry. It was this early fascination with the mind-body problem that made me so susceptible to the neuroendocrine virus when I heard about Hans Selye and the general adaptation syndrome (Selye, 1946). Selye’s views were set forth in a lecture to the sophomore medical school class in 1945 by Dr. Irwin Levy, an instructor in neurology at Washington.


Growth Hormone Thyroid Function Thyrotropin Release Hormone Hypothalamic Lesion Hypothalamic Control 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seymour Reichlin
    • 1
  1. 1.Endocrinology DivisionNew England Medical Center HospitalBostonUSA

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