From stress to functional syndromes: An internist's point of view

Daniela Lucini, Massimo Pagani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this brief review we address schematically the relationship between two emerging issues in clinical medicine: stress and functional syndromes. It is becoming increasingly clear that they demand a multidimensional approach, considering simultaneously elements of behavioral therapy with traditional pharmacological treatment, guided by a better physiopathological understanding including autonomic assessment. New techniques, based on innovative analysis of continuous segments of electrocardiogram and non invasive arterial pressure recordings capable to extract hidden oscillations, provide quantitative indices of sympathetic and vagal modulation of the cardiovascular system. This more complete diagnostic process facilitates explanation of symptoms and reassurance of patients, based on functional evidence. The described clinical approach implies in addition an active collaboration of patients requiring the implementation of a creative alliance. Physical exercise, eating habits and muscular-mental relaxation are combined with pharmacological tools as needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-301
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Internal Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Physical exercise
  • Somatic symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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