Physiological and Psychosomatic Prerequisites for Survival and Recovery
During the war the people of Leningrad had to endure a situation that went far beyond the bounds of anything previously experienced by anyone. Despite the fact that starvation killed more than half a million people, several hundred thousand Leningraders succeeded in surviving under conditions so extreme as to seem incompatible with life, and did so against all scientific opinion on minimum food requirements. Why and how they were able to survive are enigmas that have attracted the attention of biologists and physiologists, doctors and psychologists, historians and writers. Analysis of this question can help to disclose the latent reserves of the organism manifested by some people in extreme situations, and can help explain how and why they survived. The time for finding answers is fast running out. Elderly victims of the siege are passing away, taking with them the secret of the body’s amazing resistance. Children born in the besieged city are now growing old. The time for studying those characteristics of the organism responsible for resistance to the ferocious hunger and the mental and emotional stress of the daily threat to life has passed, but we still have the invaluable writings of eye-witnesses to the tragedy of the siege. Doctors and researchers, themselves exhausted by hunger, made clinical and laboratory observations on the state of the exhausted organism.
KeywordsEmotional Stress Vital Organ Vital Function Vital Activity Neural Regulation
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