Annals Reports (9)

Edited by Edited by Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences editorial staff
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Annals Reports (9)

Published: December 2014

Volume 1334

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All living organisms depend on homeostasis, the complex set of interacting metabolic chemical reactions for maintaining life and well-being. This is no less true for psychiatric well-being than for physical well-being. Indeed, a focus on homeostasis forces us to see how inextricably linked mental and physical well-being are. This report focuses on these linkages and, in particular, addresses the ways in which understanding of disturbed homeostasis may aid in creating classes of patients with mood and anxiety disorders based on such phenotypes. At the cellular level, we may be able to compensate for the inability to study living brain tissue through the study of homeostatic mechanisms in fibroblasts, pluripotent human cells, and mitochondria and determine how homeostasis is disturbed at the level of these peripheral tissues through exogenous stress. Also emphasized are the remarkable opportunities for enhancing knowledge in this area that are offered by advances in technology. The study of human behavior, especially when combined with our greatly improved capacity to study unique but isolated populations, offers particularly clear windows into the relationships among genetic, environmental, and behavioral contributions to homeostasis.

This volume also presents a report that brought together a broad range of ideas to confront endemic and emerging threats to the health of animals, humans, and the environment in the face of climatic change, environmental disturbance, and expanding human populations. Exchange of interdisciplinary knowledge in basic and applied sciences and medicine that includes scientists, health professionals, key sponsors, and policy experts revealed that relevant case studies of monkeypox, influenza A, tuberculosis, and HIV can be used to guide strategies for anticipating and responding to new disease threats such as the Ebola and Chickungunya viruses, as well as to improve programs to control existing zoonotic diseases, including tuberculosis. The problem of safely feeding the world while preserving the environment and avoiding issues such as antibiotic resistance in animals and humans requires cooperative scientific problem solving. Food poisoning outbreaks resulting from Salmonella growing in vegetables have demonstrated the need for knowledge of pathogen evolution and adaptation in developing appropriate countermeasures for prevention and policy development. Similarly, pesticide use for efficient crop production must take into consideration bee population declines that threaten the availability of the two-thirds of human foods that are dependent on pollination. This report presents and weighs the objective merits of competing health priorities and identifies gaps in knowledge that threaten health security, to promote discussion of major public policy implications such that they may be decided with at least an underlying platform of facts.