RESEARCH INTO STRESS AND IMMUNE SYSTEM FUNCTION
- Most studies focus on acute stress and have found a decrease in immune cell functionin.
- Other studies have found an increase.
- Psychologist found no decrease in overall immune system activity and higher lymphocyte counts in Apollo astronauts during the stress splashdown.
- Other research focuses on the effects of chronic stressors; effect of unemployment among unemployed women in Sweden.... decreased lymphocyte response to antigens after nine months of unemployed women.
- Short-Term Stressors: Examination Stress
- Kiecolt-Glaser carried out natural experiment to investigate whether short-term stressors had an effect of immune system in medical system.
- What Did They Do?
- Blood samples were taken one month before and during the exam period. Immune system functioning was assessed by measuting NK cell activity in the blood samples.
- Participants also filled out a questionnaire to note other life-stressors they were experiencing
- What Did They Find?
- NK cell activity significantly reduced in the second blood sample opposed to the sample taken previously.
- Short-term stressors reduce immune system functioning... increasing vulnerability to illness.
- Wound Healing
- Exam-related immune changes have a dramatic effect on the rate that wounds heal at.
- 'punch biopsy' in the mouth of students either during summer holidays or three days before an exam.
- The wounds given before the…