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Infection Protection

Sworn to Defend, Protect, and Serve, Chapter Two

20 years, 5 months ago

9209  0
Posted on Nov 06, 2003, 2 p.m. By Bill Freeman

New research carried out on hamsters has led scientists to believe that the short days and long nights of winter may prepare the immune system to be ready and waiting for intruders

 

Lack of Daylight May Boost Immune System

New research carried out on hamsters has led scientists to believe that the short days and long nights of winter may prepare the immune system to be ready and waiting for intruders. Staci D Bilbo and her colleagues at Ohio State University found that the immune response of hamsters kept in "short-day" conditions was significantly faster than that of mice exposed to long periods of light similar to the long days of summer. According to Bilbo, the results suggest that the gradual shortening of daylight hours primes the immune system to prepare for plunging temperatures and other stressors of winter, such as scarcity of food and infections. Bilbo also notes that research has shown that latitude appears to be related to the incidence of certain human diseases, for example multiple sclerosis.

SOURCE/ REFERENCE: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2002; 99:4067-4072

 

Breakfast May Keep Immune System in Tip-Top Condition

People who eat breakfast are less likely to catch a cold or the flu, recent study results suggest. Researchers at a British university found that people who regularly skipped breakfast were more likely to catch more infections over the 10-week study period than people who ate breakfast. The same study also found that people who caught more than one infection had also suffered more "negative life events", such as bereavement or stress at work. According to Professor Ron Eccles, a scientist from the same university, the most likely explanation as to why eating a hearty breakfast should protect against infections is that breakfast provides the body with an energy boost that can be used to fuel the immune system. However, people who miss breakfast may lead more stressful lives, as stress is known to impair the immune system, "it may be this which makes infection more likely," notes Eccles.

SOURCE/ REFERENCE: Reported by www.bbc.co.uk on the 6th March 2002

Thinking About Laughing Boosts Immune System

Even thinking about laughing can be good for you, according to researchers at the University of California Irvine College of Medicine. Lee Berk, MD and his colleagues monitored the 10 men involved in the study for signs of stress and then told them that they would watch a funny movie in three-days. Amazingly, the results showed that two days before watching the movie mood ratings for depression decreased by 51%, confusion 36%, anger 19%, fatigue 15%, and tension 9%. Meanwhile after watching the comedy ratings for depression and anger had dropped by 98%, fatigue by 87%, confusion by 75%, and tension by 61%. According to Berk, his results show that the anticipating a good laugh is the "biology of hope" at work and that positive anticipation can help to stimulate the immune system and speed up recovery from illness.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Reported by www.WebMd.com on the 20th November 2001

 

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