Research from our laboratory has demonstrated that:
- Even commonplace stressors like academic examinations can produce alterations in the immune response sufficient to reactivate latent herpesviruses, impair your body's ability to respond to common vaccines, and delay wound healing.
- Stress can impair your ability to respond to vaccines including influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia, and hepatitis B vaccines.
- When you are stressed, you will heal wounds more slowly.
- Stress impairs your body’s ability to control latent herpesviruses, including herpes simplex virus (HSV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV) and varicella zoster virus (VZV).
- The chronic stress of caregiving for a spouse or parent with Alzheimer's disease can be hazardous to your health, impairing your ability to respond to common vaccines, delaying your ability to heal wounds, shortening your telomeres, and greatly enhancing inflammation.
- The quality and quantity of your close personal relationships matters for your immune system.
- A good marriage is good for your health, and a bad one can be hazardous to your immune system; when you have negative or hostile interactions with your spouse, there are immediate measurable changes in stress-sensitive hormones, with much stronger effects for women than men.
- Stress-reducing interventions including yoga, progressive relaxation, and hypnosis have positive immunological consequences.
- Inflammation, associated with age-related diseases including cardiovascular disease, stroke, type II diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, some cancers, and frailty and functional decline, is boosted by both acute and chronic stress.
- Stress can make allergies worse.
- Aromatherapy does not produce positive cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune changes.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are related to mood and inflammatory responses.
- Shorter telomeres have been associated with age-related diseases and early mortality—and chronic stress shortens telomeres.
- Childhood adversity and abuse can produce lasting immune dysregulation.
- Troubled early parent-child relationships, in combination with a severe life event in the past year, predicted immune responses to basal cell skin cancers (BCC). The immunoreactivity observed in BCCs and the surrounding stroma reflects an anti-tumor-specific immune response that can be altered by stress.
- Data from a large randomized controlled trial with breast cancer survivors showed that yoga can reduce fatigue and inflammation.
For more details, go the publications section
- Stress and depression alter metabolic responses to high-fat meals in ways that promote obesity.
Dr. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser
Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research
460 Medical Center Drive, Room 130C
Columbus, OH 43210-1228