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Hormones and Social Behavior [Hardcover]

Donald W. Pfaff , Claude Kordon , Philippe Chanson

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Book Description

June 24 2008 3540792864 978-3540792864 2008
SocialBonding,aProductofEvolution: anIntroductiontotheVolume Mechanisms underlying reproductive and maternal functions or coping represent the initialstructuringforcebehindmanysocialbehaviors.Theyareaccompaniedbysel- tivehormonalenvironmentsaimedatfacilitatingor stabilizingthem.Sexandadrenal steroids are major players in the regulation of reproductive functions and coping challenges, but other hormones also participate in a variety of social behaviors (in particular,oxytocinandvasopressin,twophylogeneticallyveryoldmoietiesoriginally associated with maternal care and water balance) and are receiving increasing att- tion. Their role is highlighted in the present volume, which gathers contributions to theColloqueMédicineetRecherche“HormonesandSocialBehavior”organizedbythe FondationIPSENinDecember 2007. Whatisthekeytounderstandingtherationaleofhormonalsubstratesofbehavior? Evolution, of course. Higher manifestations of social behavior have evolved from - productivebehavior,characterizedbyErnstMayras“theleadingedgeofevolutionary change.” As formulated by one contributor to thisvolume, however, “the evolutionary increase in neocortex seen in primates has induced a signi?cant emancipation of - havior from hormonal determinants, and in parallel, an increasing role for intelligent socialstrategies”(Keverne 2008). In so-called “lower” mammalian animals, many social behaviors are closely - pendent upon the olfactory system, a component of autonomous regulation of such importancethatitexpressesalargeproportionofallreceptorgenespresentinthebrain. Whenonelooksat“higher”mammalssuchasprimates,olfactorycontrolbecomesless stringent. Olfactory structures exhibit the same number of receptor genes, but a large number are transformed into non-coding “pseudogenes.” In parallel, hormones i- tially targeted on physiological functions become increasingly associated with more diversi?edcognitivefunctions.

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Advances in 21st Century neuroscience and endocrinology will permit complex problems of medicine and public health to be elucidated. Among these problems are failures of normal social and sexual behaviors. As it turns out, these behaviors are influenced by hormone actions in the human brain using mechanisms that we have inherited from lower animals. This book concentrates on two major topics: First, the molecular and neural biology of hormone actions relevant to normal social behaviors; and Second, the clinical treatment of human patients in whom these behaviors have gone wrong.


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