La Trobe

File(s) stored somewhere else

Please note: Linked content is NOT stored on La Trobe and we can't guarantee its availability, quality, security or accept any liability.

The legacy of sickness behaviors

journal contribution
posted on 2021-01-18, 03:17 authored by Keith W Kelley, Stephen KentStephen Kent
Systemic infections of all types lead to a syndrome known as sickness behaviors. Changes in the behavior of febrile humans and animals formed the original basis for this concept. Body temperature is behaviorally regulated in both endotherms and ectotherms. However, infections cause other changes in body functions, including sleep disruption, anorexia, cognitive and memory deficits and disorientation. The brain mediates this entire cluster of symptoms, even though most major infections occur outside the brain. The true importance of sickness behaviors is not the numerous discoveries of symptoms that affect all of us when we get sick. Instead, the legacy of 30 years of research in sickness behaviors is that it established the physiologic importance of reciprocal communication systems between the immune system and the brain. This conceptual advance remains in its infancy.


Publication Date



Frontiers in Psychiatry



Article Number



5p. (p. 1-5)


Frontiers Media



Rights Statement

The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.