The stress a typical married couple feels during an ordinary half-hour argument is enough to slow their bodies ability to heal from wounds by at least one day, a new study has shown.
Moreover, if the couples relationship is routinely hostile toward each other, the delay in that healing process can be even doubled. The results of this study have major financial implications for medical centers and health care insurers.
The new study, reported in the current issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, is the latest discovery in a three-decade-long series of experiments underway at the Ohio State University s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research. The work is aimed at identifying and then explaining the ways psychological stress can affect human immunity.
“Wounds on the hostile couples healed at only 60 percent of the rate of couples considered to have low levels of hostility,” Kiecolt-Glaser said.
Blood samples from those highly hostile couples showed differences as well. The levels of one cytokine – interleukin-6 (IL-6) – increased one-and-a-half times over those in couples considered less hostile.
Cytokines are key elements in the human immune system. They hold a delicate balance in maintaining the right immune response. Increased levels of IL-6 at the site of a wound stimulate the healing process but those same levels circulating throughout the bloodstream is a problem.
Sustained higher-than-normal levels of IL-6 have been linked long-term inflammation which, in turn, is implicated in a host of age-related illnesses. These include cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, type-2 diabetes, certain lymphoproliferative diseases and cancers, Alzheimers disease and periodontal disease, the researchers said.
“In our past wound-healing experiments, we looked at more severe stressful events,” Kiecolt-Glaser said. “This was just a marital discussion that lasted only a half-hour.
“The fact that even this can bump the healing back an entire day for minor wounds says that wound-healing is a really sensitive process.”
Glaser added, “This supports our long-held contention that even small changes in cytokine levels will have a marked effect on health.”
William Malarkey, professor of internal medicine; Stanley Lemeshow, dean of the School of Public Health and director of the Center for Biostatistics, and postdoctoral researchers Tim Loving and Jeff Stowell also worked on the research.
The work was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health.
Janice Kiecolt-Glaser | EurekAlert!
Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
On track to heal leukaemia
18.01.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
19.01.2017 | Life Sciences
19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy