research into stress and the immune system

research into stress and the immune system

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  • Created on: 31-01-12 18:53
Preview of research into stress and the immune system

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Acute stress: Chronic stress:
Kiecolt-glaser et al Kiecolt-Glaser et al:
Carried out natural experiments. Tested impact of interpersonal conflict
Blood samples taken from students one on wound healing.
month before and during the exam He compared women separated from
period. their partners during the last year and
Immune system functioning was found they had a weak immune system.
assessed by measuring NK cell activity.
NK cell activity was significantly reduced Malarkey et al:
Studied 90 newly wed couples over a 24
in 2nd blood sample.
hour period. Marital conflict produced
Short term predictable stressors reduce
significant changes in adrenaline and
immune system functioning.
noradrenaline, which could lead to poor
Marucha: immune functioning.
Inflicted a punch biopsy in the mouth of
students. The wounds before the exam
took 40% longer to heal then the
wounds during the holidays.
The effects of stress can enhance the immune A meta-analysis Segerstrom and Miller 2004:
Evans et al: 293 studies, 30 years.
Looked at the activity of the antibody Short term-acute stressors can
sigA which helps to protect against boost the immune system.
infection. Long term-chronic stressors led to
He arranged for students to give talks to suppression of the immune system-
other students (mild but acute stress). the most chronic stressors were
They showed an increase in sigA, associated with the most global
whereas the levels decreased during suppression of immunity.
exam periods. The longer the stress, the more the
He proposed that stress may have two immune system shifted from
effects on the immune system: potentially adaptive changes to
Increased efficiency. potentially detrimental changes.
Down regulation for chronic stress.


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