Hans Selye Medicine

World-famous pioneer and popularizer of research on biological stress in human individuals and groups

The Story

Hans Selye was educated in Prague, Paris and Rome and became a famous endocrinologist. He was the first director of the Institute of Experimental Medicine and Surgery, Université de Montréal (1945-76). After retiring from the university, he founded the International Institute of Stress in 1977, in his own home in Montreal. His controversial theory, General Adaptation Syndrome, was based on much experimentation with rats. He concluded that stress plays some role in the development of every disease and that failure to cope with “stressors”, which can be any stimuli, can result in “diseases of adaptation” such as ulcers and high blood pressure. He wrote several books describing his theories including The Stress of Life 1956. Selye came up with the idea of “eustress,” an ideal amount of stress that is necessary to keep the body’s immune system in tune, but not enough to overwhelm it. Selye was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Sources: The Canadian Encyclopedia 1988

The Person

January 26, 1907
Vienna, Austria
Date of Death
October 16, 1982
Place of Death
Montréal, Québec
Endocrinologist; Director, Institute of Experimental Medicine and Surgery, Université de Montréal, (retired)
Last Updated
October 15, 2001

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