Hans Selye (1907–1982): Founder of the stress theory

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Object name is SMJ-59-170-g001.jpg The relationship between try and disease is now well established, but was not always recognised. The word ‘ stress ’ is used in physics to refer to the interaction between a force and the resistance to counter that coerce, and it was Hans Selye who first incorporated this term into the aesculapian dictionary to describe the “ nonspecific reception of the body to any demand “. Selye, who is known as the ‘ father of tension research ’, disavowed the study of specific disease signs and symptoms, unlike others before him, and rather focused on universal affected role reactions to illness. His concept of stress impacted scientific and lie communities alike, in fields ampere diverse as endocrinology, complemental medicate, animal breeding and social psychology .


Selye was born in Vienna on 26 January, 1907. His father, Hugo Selye, was a surgeon colonel in the Austro-Hungarian Imperial Army who former started his own surgical clinic. His mother, who administrated the clinic, had a impregnable determine on the boy with her constant quest for excellence and cerebral sophistication. Selye had a warm relationship with his beget and it seemed inevitable that he would one day work in his founder ’ randomness surgical clinic. Carrying on the surgical work would mean continuing the aesculapian tradition into the one-fifth coevals of the family.

Selye received his education from a Benedictine monastery and private tutor. By the historic period of four, he spoke four languages and would go on to learn respective more. however, Selye was most proud of his hungarian inheritance, as his forefather was hungarian and his teachers had impressed upon him a hard sense of patriotism. As a young child, he was convinced to the point of being boastful, always wanting to be first in everything that he did. These were personality traits that he carried into adulthood and which helped to sustain him in his pioneer work .


preferably than taking over the family ’ s surgical clinic, Selye chose a career in research rather. At 17, he attended the medical educate of Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. After receiving his doctor of the church of Medicine academic degree, he pursued a Doctor of Philosophy in organic chemistry, which earned him a Rockefeller Research Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. however, he found university liveliness at Hopkins intolerable and became homesick. He was on his direction home to Prague when, following the advice of some canadian students at Hopkins, he asked to transfer to McGill University in Montreal, Canada. There, he completed his company under Prof James Bertram Collip, the inventor of the parathyroid gland hormone, and at the age of 27, became Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at McGill University. Selye was first base exposed to the estimate of ‘ biological tension ’ during his moment year at the University of Prague aesculapian school. He had observed during guard rounds that patients frequently had numerous complaints in coarse, even though they were each suffering from different and discrete diseases. Until that point, students had been taught that signs and symptoms were related and specific to a particular illness, a rationale passed down by the celebrated german diagnostician Rudolf Virchow in the late nineteenth century. Recalling an example, Selye recounted how one of his teachers would make the correct diagnosis in each of five different patients, entirely on the basis of their portray history and physical findings. What was ignored, however, were the generic complaints that all those patients had in coarse, such as looking tired, having no appetite, losing weight, preferring to lie down rather than stand, and not being in the temper to go to work. He called it the “ syndrome of just being sick ”. however, this obvious so far potent observation would lie dormant for about ten years before Selye would launch his investigation into this omnipresent phenomenon.


Selye was the beginning scientist to identify ‘ stress ’ as underpinning the nonspecific signs and symptoms of illness. The stress concept re-enter Selye ’ second life during his family at McGill when Prof Collip placed him in charge of identifying versatile female sexual activity hormones that were so far undiscovered. For this project, he collected cow ovaries for process and examination, and injected respective extracts into female rats and measured their responses. His autopsies yielded a three of surprising findings : enlargement of the adrenal glands, atrophy of the lymphatic system including the thymus gland, and peptic ulcers of the stomach and duodenum. It was not due to a conjectural new hormone, as every injected noxious agent produced the lapp findings. He continued his experiments by placing the rats in diverse nerve-racking situations, such as on the cold roof of the medical building, or the familiar roll treadmill that required continuous running for the animals to stay upright. The findings in each experiment were the lapp : adrenal hyperactivity, lymphatic atrophy and peptic ulcers. Selye recognised that his discovery was an formulation of Claude Bernard ’ s milieu intérieur and homeostasis at work, and cleverly linked the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal bloc to the way the body coped with stress. Selye ’ s marriage proposal stipulated that stress was portray in an individual throughout the entire period of exposure to a nonspecific demand. He distinguished acute stress from the total answer to chronically give stressors, terming the latter condition ‘ general adaptation syndrome ’, which is besides known in the literature as Selye ’ s Syndrome. The syndrome divides the total reception from stress into three phases : the alarm reaction, the phase of underground and the degree of exhaustion. When individuals are exposed to a stressor, they are at first taken off guard, then attempt to maintain homeostasis by resisting the deepen, and finally fall victim to exhaustion in countering the stressor. Stress is a choreograph express of events, not a mere psychological term, and is encountered by all individuals during a period of illness. It differs basically from the fight-or-flight or acuate stress reaction that occurs when facing a perceive menace, as first described by physiologist Walter Cannon in 1915. The acute release of neurotransmitters from the harmonic and central nervous systems, a well as hormones from the adrenal cortex and myelin, pituitary and early endocrine gland glands, mediate the answer in acute stress.


work was never work for Selye ; in this regard, he has been compared to Thomas Edison, who saw work not as labor but as leisure. Selye actually transformed his family, a brick house built across the McGill University campus, into the International Institute of Stress, where he planned some of his experiments. Notwithstanding his colossal contributions, Selye ’ s personal biography was one of commotion. He was married three times and had one daughter from his first marriage and four children from his second. He purportedly stayed in his second marriage for 28 years because he wanted to provide a thoroughly family for his children until they were freelancer. His third base and final examination marriage was to Louise, his testing ground assistant of 19 years and person whom he felt had always understood his goals. In his memoirs, Selye compared himself to a racehorse with Louise riding on his back, racing together toward the finish line. Selye ’ randomness grim function ethic was discernible in his publications, which numbered more than 1,600 scientific articles and about 40 books. An innovative and creative scientist with a full-bodied and inspire personality, he considered himself a practitioner of experimental, not clinical, medicine. He even delved into the association between stress and cancer, using his own personal experience after a histiocytic reticulosarcoma formed under his skin, for which he had to undergo surgery and radioactive cobalt therapy. He was a campaigner for the Nobel Prize in 1949, won many accolades, and published his best-known book, The Stress of Life, in 1956. A professor and director of the Institute of Experimental Medicine and Surgery at the University of Montreal, he at one point directed 40 testing ground assistants and worked with 15,000 lab animals. In 1975, he founded the International Institute of Stress, and created the Hans Selye Foundation and the Canadian Institute of Stress. Selye died on 16 October 1982, in Montreal at the age of 75. deplorably, a scandal emerged after his death : he was said to have received extensive support for his research from the tobacco industry, for which he had worked as a adviser over several decades, ampere well as participating in its pro-smoking campaigns .

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