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1. Stress related illness and the immune system <ul><li>Objectives </li></ul><ul><li>To be able to describe the effects that stress…
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  • 1. Stress related illness and the immune system <ul><li>Objectives </li></ul><ul><li>To be able to describe the effects that stress has on the immune system </li></ul><ul><li>To be able to outline and evaluate research showing a link between stress and the immune system </li></ul>
  • 2. Ms R Kitchen 2005
  • 3. Ms R Kitchen 2005
  • 4. Fight or Flight <ul><li>Fido enters the classroom looking for trouble, you have 2 choices – run or take him on… For either of these options what would you need? </li></ul><ul><li>Energy!!!! </li></ul><ul><li>When aroused (stressed) the two systems prepare the body for energy expenditure. (ready for fight or flight). </li></ul><ul><li>The problem in modern society is that if the stress response system is repeatedly activated then the cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels) begin to suffer from abnormal wear and tear. </li></ul><ul><li>This can lead to lining of the blood vessels and consequently heart disease. </li></ul><ul><li>Too much corticosteroid can also suppress the immune response and stop the process that fights infections. </li></ul>Ms R Kitchen 2005
  • 5. The immune system <ul><li>The immune system helps to protect the body against infections and other diseases. </li></ul><ul><li>Antigen is a term used for all foreign invaders </li></ul><ul><li>that bring about an immune response. </li></ul>
  • 6. The immune system <ul><li>One response to the presence of antigens is that white blood cells (leucoytes) are sent to destroy them. </li></ul><ul><li>White blood cells that work in this way include nonspecific killer cells. These are an important defence against cancer cells and viruses. </li></ul><ul><li>This process is referred to as non-specific immunity </li></ul>
  • 7. <ul><li>Lymphocytes are cells that produce antibodies. </li></ul><ul><li>B cell lymphocytes mature in the b one marrow. </li></ul><ul><li>T cells mature in the t hymus gland. </li></ul><ul><li>This process is referred to as specific immunity as specific antibodies are produced to attack specific antigens. </li></ul><ul><li>These antibodies may attack and destroy the antigen or attract white blood cells to come and kill the antigen. </li></ul>The immune system
  • 8. The immune system <ul><li>The components of the immune system do not function independently. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Non specific immunity is our first form of defence in response to any challenge, working within minutes or hours. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Specific immunity develops over days as the components of the immune system recognise antigens. </li></ul></ul>
  • 9. Stress and the immune system <ul><li>Stress response hormones can affect the immune system </li></ul><ul><li>High levels of corticosteroids* can shrink the thymus gland, preventing the growth of T cells </li></ul><ul><li>This makes you more vulnerable to infection and disease </li></ul>
  • 10. Stress and the immune system <ul><li>Key study: Kiecolt –Glaser et al (1984) </li></ul><ul><li>Exam stress has been found to affect T cell activity </li></ul><ul><li>See handout </li></ul><ul><li>Use Cardwell page 155 to complete handout </li></ul>
  • 11. Stress and the immune system <ul><li>If short term stressors can decrease the activity of the immune system, it comes as no surprise that long term stressors can also have a negative effect on the immune system. </li></ul><ul><li>Chronic stressors are? </li></ul><ul><li>For example -? </li></ul>
  • 12. Stress and the immune system <ul><li>The death of a close relative such as husband, wife, child or parent has also been found to be linked to dysfunction of the immune system. </li></ul><ul><li>Gerra et al (2003) found lower immune activity in those individuals who were recently bereaved compared to a matched control group. </li></ul><ul><li>This difference was observed 40 days after the event and in some cases after six months. </li></ul>Death of a spouse
  • 13. Stress and the immune system <ul><ul><li>Cohen et al (1993) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Aim: To investigate the role of general life stress on vulnerability to the common cold. </li></ul><ul><li>Method: The method used is a natural / quasi experiment. </li></ul><ul><li>394 participants completed questionnaires on the number of stressful life events they had experienced in the previous year, as well as how stressed they felt and their experience of negative emotions (depression and hostility). </li></ul><ul><li>These scores were combined into a stress index. </li></ul><ul><li>Participants were then exposed to low doses of the common cold virus. </li></ul><ul><li>Results: 82% of participants became infected with the virus. </li></ul><ul><li>The chance of developing a cold was found to be significantly correlated with stress index scores (i.e. the higher the score, the more likely they were to become infected). </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion: That life stress and negative emotions reduce the effectiveness of our immune system, leaving participants less able to resist viral infections. </li></ul>Sheet See AO2: Evaluate study AO1: Outline study
  • 14. <ul><li>A doctor has been given a new drug to test, which is intended to help boost the immune system and help prevent people from getting colds. </li></ul><ul><li>How have psychologists investigated the relationship between stress and the immune system? (4 marks Jan 09) </li></ul><ul><li>Outline the impact that stress may have on the immune system. (6 marks) </li></ul><ul><li>Could use research here to illustrate the impact stress can have on the immune system. This could involve both Keicolt-Glaser as well as Cohen. </li></ul>
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