The Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems: How Do They Work Together and Support Each Other?
Let's look at an example of how these two systems function in response to changes in the environment.
It's not so much what chronic stress does to the nervous system, but what continuous activation of the nervous system does to other bodily systems that become problematic.
2000) as the hypothalamus receives input from pretty much every sensory pathway in the body; a dated study from Swanson and Sawchenko (1983) proved that the Paraventricular Nucleus of the Hypothalamus had descending pathways to the Autonomic Nervous System. As well as direct control over the Autonomic Nervous System, the Hypothalamus also has an indirect influence over it through the use of relays in other parts of the brain (Squire, Berg, Bloom, du Lac, Ghosh and Spitzer, 2008).
The signal transmission of the nervous system is fast because neurons are interconnected, but the functions are more short-lived. Signal transmission in the endocrine system is slow, since hormones must travel through the bloodstream, but the responses tend to last longer.
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Kandel, E. R., Schwartz, J. H. and Jessell, T. M., (2000) Principles of Neural Science, McGraw-Hill Medical
Squire, L.R., Berg, D., Bloom, F.E., Du Lac, S., Ghosh, A. and Spitzer, N.C., (2008) Fundamental Neuroscience 3rd Edition, Elsevier
Swanson, L. W. and Sawchenko, P.E, (1983) Hypothalamic integration: organisation of the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei. Ann. Rev. Neuroscience 6 269-324