The Immune System = a network of cells and chemicals throughout the body that functions to seek out and destroy invading particles.
- anything that stimulates an immune response = AN ANTIGEN
- ANTIGENS prtect the body against : bacteria, viruses, toxins ect.
How does the immune system operate? - it protects you in 3 different ways:
- creates a barrier preventing antigens from entering your body
- if an antigen does enter your body, the immune system tries to detect and eliminate it before it can reproduce
- if virus is able to reproduce and start causing problems, the immune system is responsible for elimating it.
White blood cells / leucocytes
there are two types of white blood cells:
- phagocytes = these surround and ingest the invading foreignparticles - ingests bacteria
- lymphocytes = these produce antibodies which attach themselves to the foreign particles, slowing them down and making it easier for other immune cells to destroy them - produces antibodies
Research into stress and immune system functioning
Kiecolt-Glaser et al (1984) - found a decrease in immune cell function
Aim: to see if stress of short-term stressors have an effect on immune system functioning in medical students.
Method: blood samples taken 1 month before (kow stress) and during (high stress) exam period. Immune system functioning assessed by NK (natural killer) cell activity in bloody samples. Patricipant's also completed a questionnaire to meausre other life stressors they may be experiencing.
Findings: NK cell activity significantly reduced in 2nd blood samples compared to sample taken 1 month before
Conclusions: short-term stressors reduce immune system functioning, increasing vulnerability to illness.
- Study high in ecological validity because…