Modulation of cellular immunity in medical students

The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States
Journal of Behavioral Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.1). 03/1986; 9(1):5-21. DOI: 10.1007/BF00844640
Source: PubMed


This study assessed the psychosocial modulation of cellular immunity in 34 medical-student volunteers. The first blood sample was obtained 1 month before examinations, and the second on the day of examinations. There were significant declines in the percentage of helper/inducer T-lymphocytes, in the helper/inducer-suppressor/cytotoxic-cell ratio, and in natural killer-cell activity in the blood samples obtained on the day of examinations. Half of the subjects were randomly assigned to a relaxation group which met between sample points; the frequency of relaxation practice was a significant predictor of the percentages of helper/inducer cells in the examination sample. Three biochemical nutritional assays (albumin, transferrin, and total iron-binding protein) were within normal limits on both samples. Data from the Brief Symptom Inventory showed significantly increased global self-rated distress associated with examinations in the no-intervention group, compared to nonsignificant change in the relaxation group. Clinical and theoretical implications are discussed.

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Available from: Julie C Stout, Feb 23, 2015
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    • "As an example, four studies have evaluated the immune effects of hypnosis and relaxation (5,52–54). In two of these studies, medical students were assigned randomly to a hypnotic/relaxation group prior to examination stress (52,53). Both studies found that the frequency of relaxation correlated with an amelioration of stress-induced changes in lymphocyte proliferation, natural killer (NK) cell activity and T-cell subset enumeration, although neither study found significant effects for the intervention due in part to variability in the practice of relaxation. "
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    • "Though a convenient stressor, it occurs against a background of academic stressors and peer pressures which as will be seen complicate interpretations of outcome. Kiecolt-Glaser et al. (1986) compared with a control group, the effects of relaxation training on mood and immune function in first year medical students. The IMMUNITY, WELL-BEING AND HEALTH 151 intervention consisted of three weeks of relaxation training involving five group sessions of self - hypnosis , progressive relaxation , autogenic training and imagery exercises ; a menu from which students could self - select in order to practise at home , prior to exams . "
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    ABSTRACT: This review considers psychological interventions involving relaxation and guided imagery targeting immune functions. The review provides evidence of immune control accompanied by reports of enhanced mood and well-being. Three recent investigations of the author and his colleagues with self-hypnosis training incorporating imagery of the immune system are outlined. In two studies, hypnosis buffered the effects of stress on immune functions in medical students at exam time, and the comparison of self-hypnosis with and without immune imagery confirmed advantages to targeted imagery for both immune function and mood, and importantly, fewer winter viral infections. The implications for health were investigated in a third study in patients with virulent and chronic herpes simplex virus-2 HSV-2). Six weeks of training almost halved recurrence, improved mood and reduced levels of clinical depression and anxiety. Immune functions were up-regulated, notably functional natural killer cell activity to HSV-1. Individual differences in hypnotic susceptibility and absorption have typically been found to predict efficacy. New replicable evidence is reviewed of the importance of cognitive activation, a personality difference whose neurophysiological underpinning is consistent with left hemispheric preferential influences over the immune system. Now that the validation of psychological interventions includes advantages for health, this field of enquiry, which has been characterised by modest, small scale, largely preliminary studies, warrants a greater investment in research.
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    • "– Recuentos de CD4+, CD8+ y ratio CD4+/CD8+: disminuciones (Glaser et al., 1985; Kiecolt-Glaser et al., 1986; Halvorsen et al., 1987) y aumentos (Dorian et al., 1982). – Porcentajes de monocitos: aumentos (Halvorsen et al., 1987) y no cambios significativos (Matalka et al., 1998). "
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