PSYCHOTHERAPY SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS

A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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I
HEALTH AND DISEASE
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root of the nose at the base of the brain, and no bigger than a pea, is the pituitary body, the most complex and perhaps the most important of the endocrine glands. It may be conceived as the master gland having a controlling effect on other glands. The pituitary consists of two principal parts, the anterior and posterior lobes, which are connected with the brain by a slim stalk. The anterior lobe is readily seen under the microscope to be of glandular structure. The posterior lobe, which is derived from the brain in the course of the development of the embryo, is not so apparently glandular, but hormones have been extracted from it. Each of these parts secretes several hormones and the ' pars intermedia ' between the two lobes has also an independent endocrine function.
The best known of the hormones of the anterior lobe of the pituitary is the growth hormone. A deficiency of this secretion is responsible for the production of midgets, who unlike ordinary dwarfs are symmetrical in build and, unlike cretins, are mentally mature. These midgets are sometimes seen in stage troups. An excessive secretion of the growth hormone has exactly the opposite result, the extreme growth of the long bones and of the hands and feet being most noticeable. Most circus giants are of the pituitary type, and cases in which a height of over nine feet has been attained have been authenticated. If the growth hormone becomes secreted in too great amounts after adult stature has once been reached, the disease of acromegaly results. Such bones of the body as remain soft, the nose, the chin, the hands and the feet, show an abnormal growth, often making the individual unrecognizable as his former self. Over-secretion of the pituitary is usually due to a tumorous enlargement of the gland.
The pituitary gland secretes several hormones that