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The Central Autonomic System: The Hypothalamus 

The Central Autonomic System: The Hypothalamus
Chapter:
The Central Autonomic System: The Hypothalamus
Author(s):

Per Brodal

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190228958.003.0030
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date: 08 March 2021

Chapter 30 deals with the central control of the autonomic nervous system, in which the hypothalamus plays a dominant role. Broadly, the role of the hypothalamus is to organize the autonomic, endocrine, and somatic-motor processes into behavior that is appropriate for the immediate and long-term needs of the organism. In addition, the hypothalamus plays a unique role-by means of the pituitary gland-in the superior control of the endocrine system. The overall aim is to maintain bodily homeostasis in a wide sense. More specifically, the hypothalamus participates in control of body temperature, feeding, circadian rhythms, reproduction, sleep, and the immune system. It is also connected with higher levels of the central nervous system including the cerebral cortex and the amygdala. These connections are important links psychosomatic interrelations. Hypothalamic efferent connections have three main targets: the pituitary, autonomic preganglionic neurons, somatic-efferent cell groups, and higher levels of the brain.

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