Stress and immune-system

Frode Skarstein frodes at ibg.uit.no
Wed Dec 6 01:18:43 EST 1995

In article <49i73v$fvb at kralle.zdv.Uni-Mainz.DE>, "Heiko Hübner"
<huebh000 at goofy.zdv.uni-mainz.de> wrote:

>Is it possible that stress has a positive effect on the immune system?
>I am a medical student and since I study I was ill very less often than 
>before I begann to study. We are not allowed to miss any of our lectures 
>or practical courses and so we can´t afford to become ill. So I thought 
>that because of the stress I didn´t become ill as often as before.

Stress may suppress your immune response through the actions of stress
hormones such as corticosteroids. Often, the immune response is what
creates the symptoms of disease, and given your supressed immune defence
during stress periods, you're feeling less ill. 

Check out the book "Why Zebras Dont Get Ulcers : A Guide to Stress,
Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping", by Sapolsky, Robert M. 1995. In this
book Sapolsky explores the various evolutionary explanations of stress.
Its an incredibly interesting area of immunology you've stumbled upon in
your stressed life.

Frode Skarstein

Frode Skarstein, Department of Ecology/Zoology, University of Tromsoe

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