Stress and the Immune System

Stress and the Immune System

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Stress and the Immune System - Kiecolt-Glaser et a

Kiecolt-Glaser et al (1984) conducted and experiment investigating the effect of an acute stressor on the immune system using students and exams. (He classed exams as an acute stressor!)
Blood samples were taken one month before and during the exams. Immune system functioning was significantly reduced during the stressful exam periods when compared to one month before. This suggests that acute stressors (such as exams) can have a significant impact on the immune system, leaving you vulnerable to infection.

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Stress and the Immune System - Kiecolt-Glaser et a

Kiecolt-Glaser et al (1995) conducted an investigation into how psychological stress can cause damage to the immune system. In a field experiment he recruited 26 participants using advertisments in the news paper. Group 1: 13 women (41-81) who were looking after a relative with Alzheimer's disease (stressed condition). Group 2: 13 women who were matched with carers on the basis of age and income (not stressed condition).A small cut was made on the arm, measuring immune system functioning. Participants were given a 10 item perceived stress scale and asked to state how stressed they felt. Levels of cytokines were also taken from both groups.
Both tests revealed the experiemental group shown higher levels of stress.
The time taken for the wound to heal was significantly longer for the carers then the control group. Analysis of the blood shown carers produced less interleukin-1b which plays a role in wound healing. Suggesting that chronic stress does have a significant impact on the immune system.

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Stress and the Immune System - Segerstorm and Mill

Segerstorm and Miller (2004) conducted a meta-analysis of 293 studies and found short term, acute stressors can boost the immune system, prompting it to ready itself to fight infections and long term chronic stressors led to suppression of the immune system.

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