Power of the mind can stop you catching flu, researchers reveal By Steve Connor, Science Editor The Independent, UK Tuesday, September 2, 2003 Scientists trying to find whether there is any truth to "mind over matter" say brain activity can control resistance to influenza. They have demonstrated a direct link between the brain's emotional state and the body's immune defences to explain why depressed people are more likely to catch a cold. Although there is considerable research showing a person's mood can influence their susceptibility to a virus, no previous study has found a direct link to the brain. Neuroscientists led by Richard Davidson, of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, found electrical activity in the left prefrontal cortex - the region of the brain above the left eye - appears to play a critical role in directing the body's immune system. High levels of activity in the same region of the brain are known to be linked with a more positive attitude to life, with severely depressed people having a particularly subdued left prefrontal cortex relative to their right prefrontal cortex. Professor Davidson's findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They checked 52 volunteers witha brain scanner, measured each person's electrical activity in the left and right pre- frontal cortex before injecting them with a flu vaccine to see how well their immune systems responded to a simulated viral attack. Over the next six months, the scientists monitored the levels of flu-fighting antibodies that appeared in the blood of each volunteer. They found those with relatively high levels of activity in the right pre-frontal cortex produced greater amounts of flu antibody. "This study established that people with a pattern of brain activity that has been associated with a positive affective style are also the ones to show the best response to the flu vaccine," Professor Davidson said. "It begins to suggest a mechanism [that means] subjects with a more positive emotional disposition may be healthier." Scientists have demonstrated there is a link between pyschological wellbeing and physical health. Severe stress and depression also have a direct impact on the immune system, affecting chemical messengers called cytokines, which are needed to recover from an infection. Professor Davidson added: "Emotions play an important role in modulating bodily systems that influence our health." Read the complete news at: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/science_medical/story.jsp?story=439412 News Plus http://www.mantra.com/newsplus Jai Maharaj http://www.mantra.com/jai Om Shanti Panchaang for 6 Bhadrapad 5104, Monday, September 1, 2003: Shubhanu Nama Samvatsare Dakshinaya Jivana Ritau Singh Mase Shukl Pakshe Indu Vasara Yuktayam Vaishakh Nakshatr Indr Yog Kaulav-Gar Karan Shasthi-Saptami Yam Tithau Hindu Holocaust Museum http://www.mantra.com/holocaust Hindu life, principles, spirituality and philosophy http://www.hindu.org http://www.hindunet.org The truth about Islam and Muslims http://www.flex.com/~jai/satyamevajayate o Not for commercial use. Solely to be fairly used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion. The contents of this post may not have been authored by, and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the poster. The contents are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works. o If you send private e-mail to me, it will likely not be read, considered or answered if it does not contain your full legal name, current e-mail and postal addresses, and live-voice telephone number. o Posted for information and discussion. Views expressed by others are not necessarily those of the poster.