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The immune system is the collective name
for all of the cells in the body which fight
against bacteria and viruses
White blood cells (leucocytes) find and
destroy foreign cells (antigens) in the body
Stress can have some negative effects on our
health and well-being
SAM and HPA have both been shown to have
a direct effect on the immune system…read more

Slide 3

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Most studies have found acute stress to
decrease the immune system's functioning
However, some have found an increase...
E.g. Fischer et al. (1972): No decrease in overall
immune system functioning, increase in
lymphocyte (a type of white blood cell) levels-
Apollo astronauts.
Arnetz et al. (1987) found that for women in
Sweden, chronic stress (caused by 9 months
unemployment) resulted in a decrease in
lymphocyte response to antigens…read more

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Natural experiment into the effect of short
term stressors (exams) on immune system
functioning (in medical students)
Blood samples of the students were taken
one month before (low stress) and during the
exam time (high stress)
NK cell (Natural killer cell) activity was
measured in the blood samples.
The students were also asked to complete a
questionnaire to identify any extraneous
stressors…read more

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During the exam time, the NK activity was
significantly reduced in comparison to one
month before
Suggesting: Short-term, predictable stressors
reduce immune system functioning- making
illness more likely
They also found that the students who noted
they were lonely on the questionnaire had
the lowest NK cell activity…read more

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Punch-biopsies were inflicted in the mouth of
students either during exam time or during
the summer holidays
The wounds given during the exam period
took 40% longer to heal than those during the
holidays…read more

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