[ExI] atrophy or hypertrophy

spike spike66 at att.net
Thu Oct 1 03:51:13 UTC 2015

When a threat looms up before us, we get a shot of adrenaline, as the old
familiar fight or flight mechanisms do what they do so well.  It gives us a
little boost in strength and speed, suppresses the pain receptors and such
as that.


Adrenaline does more than that however.  It plays a role in immune system
reactions to infection for instance.  So if the adrenal system doesn't work
right, it is more serious than your becoming a boring snoozy apathetic


We have adrenal glands above our kidneys, but there are other cortisols and
hormones and things produced by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland
which enable to adrenals to do what they do.  (Dr. Rafal, do I have that
approximately right, in terms even a controls engineer can grasp?)


If so, imagine the following scenario.  Suppose a guy retires from a
rewarding career, so he has no 9 to 5 and no compelling reason to seek
another one.  He has hobbies and works out and does things, writes code and
stuff so the guy isn't bored.  He has no schedule and just does whatever the
mood suggests.  He isn't sniffing around at the local fauna, so no risk of
his bride catching him at anything untoward, no risk of an IRS audit
(because he isn't earning any money) no risk of really anything: he lives in
a safe area with no visible gangs or scruffy looking dudes any of that sort
of thing, he sold his last racing motorcycle several years ago and now rides
only touring bikes in a sedate manner, he has a home life in which a harsh
word is seldom uttered, he has a life filled with inner peace and serenity,
completely by accident: it really just happened that way.  The fight or
flight mechanism is seldom triggered because there is no one to fight and no
reason to flee.


Question: what happens to that guy's adrenal system?  Does it hypertrophy?
Since the system evolved to deal with risk, in the absence of threats does
it fish around for dangers that aren't even there, triggering at every
little spider or imaginary shadow of threat?  Or does the whole system
atrophy, like a muscle which is seldom called upon to do anything, becoming
withered, weak and ineffective from disuse?



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