Abstract for: Simulating the Human Organism Response to Stress
The human organism is in a constant calculated interaction with the environment. When the environment turns adverse or perceived as adverse, the nervous system activates a survival mechanism. This activated system prepares the body to either fight against the treat or flight from the adverse situation. The control piece of this system lays in the brain, specifically in the amygdala, which evaluate the change in the environment and if the change is considered threaten it sends a signal to the hypothalamus. After receiving the signal, the hypothalamus activates the release of the cortisol hormone which prepares the body for fight-or-flight. This mechanism is later deactivated when the perceived danger disappears. The activation of this system overcharges the nervous systems and if happens frequently can generate chronic stress related illnesses. Thus, it is important to understand the interaction of the stress response system with the environment. We are building a simulation that aims to compile the complexity of this mechanism in an easy-to-follow model. This model could be tested by changing certain parameters and by simulating different levels and frequencies of stress, such as a specific car accident, constant/sporadic familial violence exposure, constant/sporadic community violence among other types of stress.