How teens deal with stress may affect their blood pressure, immune system

Most teens get stressed out by their families from time to time, but whether they bottle those emotions up or put a positive spin on things may affect certain processes in the body, including blood pressure and how immune cells respond to bacterial invaders, according to Penn State researchers.

The researchers explored whether the strategies adolescents used to deal with chronic family stress affected various metabolic and immune processes in the body. Strategies could include cognitive reappraisal — trying to think of the stressor in a more positive way — and suppression, or inhibiting the expression of emotions in reaction to a stressor.

The team found that when faced with greater chronic family stress, teens who used cognitive reappraisal had better metabolic measures, like blood pressure and waist-to-hip ratio. Teens who were more likely to use suppression tended to have more inflammation when their immune cells were exposed to a bacterial stimulus in the lab, even in the presence of anti-inflammatory signals.

Full story at Science Daily

Is schizophrenia a disorder of the immune system?

Using data from the largest ever genetic study of schizophrenia, researchers have shed light on the role of the immune system.

It had been suspected that the illness was an autoimmune disorder like multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s or rheumatoid arthritis where the immune system misfires and attacks the body.The international team led by Dr Jennie Pouget from the University of Toronto and Dr Jo Knight from Lancaster University have found strong evidence that schizophrenia is different.

They tested the idea that genetic variants influencing immune function contribute to the disease but they found that the pattern in schizophrenia is not the same as in classic autoimmune disorders.

Full story of schizophrenia and the immune system at Science Daily

Choir singing boosts immune system activity in cancer patients and carers, study shows

Singing in a choir for just one hour boosts levels of immune proteins in people affected by cancer, reduces stress and improves mood, which in turn could have a positive impact on overall health, a new study by Tenovus Cancer Care and the Royal College of Music published today in ecancermedicalscience has found.

The research raises the possibility that singing in choir rehearsals could help to put people in the best possible position to receive treatment, maintain remission and support cancer patients.

The study tested 193 members of five different choirs. Results showed that singing for an hour was associated with significant reductions in stress hormones, such as cortisol, and increases in quantities of cytokines — proteins of the immune system — which can boost the body’s ability to fight serious illness.

Full story of choir singing and immune system in cancer patients at Science Daily