Social stress can speed up immune system aging: new research

By Eric Klopack

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Very interesting article that explains new details about the relationship of stress and decreased immunity. It is fortunate that the findings demonstrate the relationship is not as strong and it can be compensated with healthy lifestyle changes (that can also work to reduce stress).

One thing that probably requires more study is the relationship with active CMV infection, the explanation here sweeps over the activation, saying stress directly makes the CMV to flare up and end up consuming part of the resources of the immune system, but this may not be a direct relationship, if the actual case is that the activation follows a previous decrease of the immunity this would be a vicious cycle of stress-low immunity- CMV- even lower immunity. If this is the case preventing the first dip on immune function would also prevent the re-activation of the CMV.

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 It also highlights potential ways to slow down immune aging, such as changing how people cope with stress and improving lifestyle behaviors like diet, smoking and exercise.

I'm smiling a little at this. Assuming the idea is that people should stop smoking, do people not smoke (and drink, take drugs, etc.) to reduce stress? I wonder if they looked at the effect of handing out ciggies, beer, and cash to people suffering from social stress.

Which reminds me of comedian Kevin Bridges' thoughts on self-esteem as a way to help people. (warning - strong language and a Scottish accent)

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