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Term: sympathetic

Literally meaning: “feel with”

Origin: Anc Greek
συμπάθεια/sympathia(=sympathy, capability to recognize or feel another’s suffering)  > συν/syn(=together, with) + πάθος/pathos (=passion, sorrow, strong emotion) >πάσχω/pascho(=to be affected by, to suffer).

The notion that sympathetic nervous system coordinates body  functions originated by Greek physician Galen who taught that nerves were hollow tubes distributing “animal spitrits” in the body , thereby fostering concerred action, or “syphathy” of the organs. In 1732 Danish anatomist Jacques-Benigne Winslow (1669-1760)  coined the term sympathetic nervous system to describe the hains of ganglia and nerves connented to the thoracic and lumbar spinal cord. Bichat (1771-1802) divided life into two distinct forms, one governed by the brain, and the other (organic, vegetative, life) by the abdominal ganglia. Vegetative life was seen as connected with the passions and independent of education, governed by independently functioning abdominal ganglia, a chain of “little brains”. English physiologist  John Langley (1852-1925) introduced the term autonomous nervous system  and parasympathetic nervous system to denote the cranial and sacral portions of the nervous system, in contrast with the sympathetic nervous system, which originates from thoracolumbar ganglia.  Langley’s coinage was based on the obsarvation that parasympathetic nerves emerge from the brain and the sacral segments of the spinal cord and thus to either side of the regions of the cord from wich sympathetic fibers arise. As Langley quoted “the autonomic nervous sytem means the nervous system of the glands and of the involuntary muscle; it governs the “organic” functions of the body.  (J of Physiology, 1898-1899). 

Sympathetic term is relating to  the sympathetic autonomous nervous system that acts in opposition to the parasympathetic  system accelerates heartbeat, dilating the pupils of the eyes and bronchioles  (fight-or-flight response).  Sympathetic nervous system originates from spinal cord in the thoracolumbar region. 

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