The father of biological stress research
Dr. Selye’s initial discovery of the stress syndrome was based on the demonstration that the body nonspecifically responded in virtually the same way to various innocuous stimuli or stressors. During his medical studies, he had previously observed that patients with various illnesses appeared to display the syndrome of being sick. One of his greatest contributions was the demonstration of the stress triad (gastrointestinal ulceration, thymico-lymphatic atrophy and adrenal hypertrophy) and of the role of the hypothalamus in stimulating the hypophysis, which induced the adrenals to produce corticoids. These descriptions led to the discovery of the steroids ACTH, GRH, somatostatin and other hypothalamic and hypophyseal releasing factors and hormones. Collectively these discoveries described the body’s internal stress-processing mechanism.