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Psychological stress in humans and susceptibility to the common cold.

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Abstract

It is not known whether psychological stress suppresses host resistance to infection. To investigate this issue, we prospectively studied the relation between psychological stress and the frequency of documented clinical colds among subjects intentionally exposed to respiratory viruses. After completing questionnaires assessing degrees of psychological stress, 394 healthy subjects were given nasal drops containing one of five respiratory viruses (rhinovirus type 2, 9, or 14, respiratory syncytial virus, or coronavirus type 229E), and an additional 26 were given saline nasal drops. The subjects were then quarantined and monitored for the development of evidence of infection and symptoms. Clinical colds were defined as clinical symptoms in the presence of an infection verified by the isolation of virus or by an increase in the virus-specific antibody titer. The rates of both respiratory infection (P less than 0.005) and clinical colds (P less than 0.02) increased in a dose-response manner with increases in the degree of psychological stress. Infection rates ranged from approximately 74 percent to approximately 90 percent, according to levels of psychological stress, and the incidence of clinical colds ranged from approximately 27 percent to 47 percent. These effects were not altered when we controlled for age, sex, education, allergic status, weight, the season, the number of subjects housed together, the infectious status of subjects sharing the same housing, and virus-specific antibody status at base line (before challenge). Moreover, the associations observed were similar for all five challenge viruses. Several potential stress-illness mediators, including smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise, diet, quality of sleep, white-cell counts, and total immunoglobulin levels, did not explain the association between stress and illness. Similarly, controls for personality variables (self-esteem, personal control, and introversion-extraversion) failed to alter our findings. Psychological stress was associated in a dose-response manner with an increased risk of acute infectious respiratory illness, and this risk was attributable to increased rates of infection rather than to an increased frequency of symptoms after infection.
... Using SIR modelling, we have shown that vaccination-status-based segregation can lead to significantly different and counter-intuitive epidemic outcomes depending on how segregation is applied, and depending on complex cultural and physical factors that co-determine infectious contact frequencies (i.e., the products βc), including negative health consequences for either segregated group, even disregarding the expected deleterious health impacts of the segregation policies themselves (Cohen, 2004;Cohen et al., 1991;Cohen et al., 1997). Given the lack of reliable empirical evaluations of needed infectious contact frequency values, given the now proven outcome sensitivities to the infectious contact frequencies, and given the intrinsic limitations of SIR models in this application, we cannot recommend that SIR modelling be used to motivate or justify segregation policies regarding viral respiratory diseases, in the present state of knowledge. ...
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Background: Segregation of unvaccinated people from public spaces has been a novel and controversial COVID-era public health practice in many countries. Models have been used to explore potential epidemiological impacts of vaccination-status-based segregation, however existing models do not realistically represent the segregation because they neglect its effect on decreasing or increasing the contact frequencies of the segregated individuals. We systematically investigate how including the effect of segregation on contact frequencies changes predicted epidemiological outcomes. Methods: We describe a susceptible-infectious-recovered (SIR) two-population model for vaccinated and unvaccinated groups of individuals that transmit an infectious disease by pairwise person-to-person contact. The degree of segregation between the two groups, ranging from no segregation to complete segregation, is implemented using the like-to-like mixing approach developed by Garnett and Anderson (1996) for sexually transmitted diseases and recently applied to SARS-CoV-2 transmission and vaccination (Fisman et al., 2022). The model allows the contact frequencies for individuals in the two groups to be different and to depend, with variable strength, on the degree of segregation. Results: Model predictions for a broad range of model assumptions and respiratory-disease epidemiological parameters are calculated to examine the effects of segregation. Segregation can either increase or decrease the attack rate among the vaccinated, depending on the type of segregation (whether isolating or compounding), and on the contagiousness of the disease. For diseases with relatively low contagiousness, segregation can cause an attack rate in the vaccinated, which does not occur without segregation. Interpretation: There is no blanket epidemiological advantage to implementing segregation, either for the vaccinated or the unvaccinated. Negative epidemiological consequences can occur for both groups.
... A mean score of ≥ 13 is categorised as 'average stress', and ≥ 20 is categorised as 'high stress'. The intrinsic validity of the PSS-10 scale has been measured at 0.85, according to the alpha coefficient [31,32]. In this study, the alpha value was measured as 0.86. ...
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This study examines the self-rated health and well-being of Icelandic teachers just before and over a year after COVID-19 first appeared. We ask, what was the stress level in 2021 compared to 2019 and the impact of mental and physical health and health symptoms on perceived stress? Were there any changes in self-assessed mental and physical health? Were there any changes in self-assessed mental and physical health symptoms? The study is based on an online survey conducted in 2019 and 2021. A total of 920 primary school teachers answered the questionnaire in part or in full, after three reminders. The main findings show increased stress, worsening mental and physical health, and increasing mental and physical symptoms in 2021 compared to 2019. The results also show a higher percentage of women than men reporting high stress, with women scoring higher on the PSS scale, but the gender patterns for mental and physical health are less clear. The results show that the COVID-19 pandemic had negative consequences on the health and well-being of the teachers. The study demonstrates the importance of school authorities keeping an exceptionally watchful eye on the welfare and well-being of teachers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
... Findings from the experimental challenge-transmission model should be evaluated in studies of real-world epidemiology and population transmission dynamics. This way the potentially important contributions of other important variables can be assessed: a) immunity and shedding dynamics, b) socio-behavioral factors related to human-human interaction and exposure, c) overall well-being including psychological stress, sleep, physical activity, and diet [66], d) features of the built environment where exposure occurs including temperature, humidity, sanitary ventilation (combination of outdoor airflow, filtration, and GUV), and e) the role of other airborne exposures including particulate matter, ozone, and nitrogen oxides. ...
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Despite uncertainty about the specific transmission risk posed by airborne, spray-borne, and contact modes for influenza, SARS-CoV-2, and other respiratory viruses, there is evidence that airborne transmission via inhalation is important and often predominates. An early study of influenza transmission via airborne challenge quantified infectious doses as low as one influenza virion leading to illness characterized by cough and sore throat. Other studies that challenged via intranasal mucosal exposure observed high doses required for similarly symptomatic respiratory illnesses. Analysis of the Evaluating Modes of Influenza Transmission (EMIT) influenza human-challenge transmission trial-of 52 H3N2 inoculated viral donors and 75 sero-susceptible exposed individuals-quantifies airborne transmission and provides context and insight into methodology related to airborne transmission. Advances in aerosol sampling and epidemiologic studies examining the role of masking, and engineering-based air hygiene strategies provide a foundation for understanding risk and directions for new work.
... • As we have discussed and reviewed previously (Rancourt, Baudin and Mercier, 2021a), chronic stress debilitates the immune system and is arguably the dominant determinant of individual health (Cohen, Tyrrell and Smith, 1991;Ader and Cohen, 1993;Cohen et al., 1997;Sapolsky, 2005;Cohen, Janicki-Deverts and Miller, 2007;Dhabhar, 2014;Prenderville et al., 2015). Furthermore, the molecular and physiological mechanisms for suppression of the immune system by experienced chronic stress are being elucidated more and more (Devi et al., 2021;Udit, Blake and Chiu, 2022). ...
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All-cause mortality by time is the most reliable data for detecting and epidemiologically characterizing events causing death, and for gauging the population-level impact of any surge or collapse in deaths from any cause. Such data is not susceptible to reporting bias or to any bias in attributing causes of death. We compare USA all-cause mortality by time (month, week), by age group and by state to number of vaccinated individuals by time (week), by injection sequence, by age group and by state, using consolidated data up to week-5 of 2022 (week ending on February 5, 2022), in order to detect temporal associations, which would imply beneficial or deleterious effects from the vaccination campaign. We also quantify total excess all-cause mortality (relative to historic trends) for the entire covid period (WHO 11 March 2020 announcement of a pandemic through week-5 of 2022, corresponding to a total of 100 weeks), for the covid period prior to the bulk of vaccine delivery (first 50 weeks of the defined 100-week covid period), and for the covid period when the bulk of vaccine delivery is accomplished (last 50 weeks of the defined 100-week covid period); by age group and by state. We find that the COVID-19 vaccination campaign did not reduce all-cause mortality during the covid period. No deaths, within the resolution of all-cause mortality, can be said to have been averted due to vaccination in the USA. The mass vaccination campaign was not justified in terms of reducing excess all-cause mortality. The large excess mortality of the covid period, far above the historic trend, was maintained throughout the entire covid period irrespective of the unprecedented vaccination campaign, and is very strongly correlated (r = +0.86) to poverty, by state; in fact, proportional to poverty. It is also correlated to several other socioeconomic and health factors, by state, but not correlated to population fractions (65+, 75+, 85+ years) of elderly state residents.
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