A corollary of these findings is that psychoactive drugs may in some cases be used to treat inflammatory iseases, and drugs that affect the immune system may be useful in treating some psychiatric disorders. There is growing evidence that our view of ourselves and others, our style of handling stresses, as well as our genetic makeup, can affect activities of the immune system. Similarly, there is good evidence that diseases associated with chronic inflammation significantly affect on one’s mood or level of anxiety. Finally, these findings suggest that classification of illnesses into medical and psychiatric specialties, and the boundaries that have emarcated mind and body, are artificial.
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ESTHER M. STERNBERG and PHILIP W. GOLD carry out their research on stress and immune systems at the National Institute of Mental Health, where Sternberg is chief of the section on neuroendocrinology and behavior and Gold is chief of the clinical neuroendocrinology branch. Sternberg received her M.D. from McGill University.
Her work on the mechanisms and molecular basis of neuroimmune communication has led to a growing recognition of the importance of the mindbody interaction. She also is an authority on the L-tryptophan eosinophilia myalgia syndrome, which reached almost epidemic proportions in 1989. Prior to joining the NIMH in 1974, Gold received his medical training at Duke University and Harvard University. Gold and his group were among the first to introduce data implicating corticotropin- releasing hormone and its related hormones in the pathophysiology of melancholic and atypical depression and in the mechanisms of action of antidepressant drugs.