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Q: Mind-body medicine ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Mind-body medicine
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: qpet-ga
List Price: $40.00
Posted: 19 Mar 2003 14:29 PST
Expires: 18 Apr 2003 15:29 PDT
Question ID: 178398
What is the latest common understanding of the mind-body health
impact?(Stress can cause disease....?)A short overview of current
thinking, please.
Subject: Re: Mind-body medicine
Answered By: bobbie7-ga on 19 Mar 2003 18:44 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi Qpet!

PsychoNeuroImmunology is the science of how our thoughts and emotions
influence our physical health.

“Research in the new science of psychoneuroimmunology shows that the
immune system is affected by various attitudes and emotional reactions
in the human body. For example, the endocrine system weakens when
there is a dominance of repressed, bottled up danger emotions such as
pain, anger, and fear. It is stimulated as a result of increased
expression of such positive emotions as pleasure and love. Evidence
shows that our emotions and thoughts "talk" with the billions of
defense cells in our immune system.”

Research in The Center for Stress and Wound Healing:

“..has demonstrated large and reliable relationships between
psychological stress and wound healing. We showed that a chronic
stressor, caring for a spouse with Alzheimer's disease, affected
healing of a dermal wound.   Similar results, obtained using a mouse
model, also showed that stress can slow wound healing. The immune
system plays a major role in the regulation of wound repair, and
stress can alter the cellular immune response.”

Ohio State University: Ronald Glaser, Ph.D.


Stress can cause or worsen cancer, heart disease, and cerebrovascular
disease. It is also directly related to irritable bowel syndrome,
impotence, and depression. In addition, the stress of illness itself
can hinder recovery from almost any disease.

“Stress-related diseases occur because we often activate the
stress-response chronically to respond to psychological stressors.


The body responds to the stressor with the stress-response; it changes
the secretions of various hormones to reestablish stability. Injury,
hunger, heat, cold, or worry can trigger the stress-response.


 If the body activates the stress-response often and chronically,
diseases can result. Stress-related diseases include depression,
ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, reproductive dysfunction, and the
worsening of diabetes.”

The Endocrine Society


The American Institute of Stress explains why stress may cause

“Contemporary stress tends to be more pervasive, persistent and
insidious because it stems primarily from psychological than physical
threats.  It is associated with ingrained and immediate reactions over
which we have no control that were originally designed to be
beneficial such as:

-  Heart rate and blood pressure soar to increase the flow of blood to
the brain to improve decision making,

-  Blood sugar rises to furnish more fuel for energy as the result of
the breakdown of glycogen, fat and protein stores,

-  Blood is shunted away from the gut, where it not immediately needed
for purposes of digestion, to the large muscles of the arms and legs
to provide more strength in combat, or greater speed in getting away
from a scene of potential peril,

- Clotting occurs more quickly to prevent blood loss from lacerations
or internal hemorrhage.”

These automatic responses were developed in the course of human
evolution as life saving measures to facilitate primitive man's
ability to deal with physical challenges

However nowadays people get stressed out when they are stuck in
traffic or fight with customers, co-workers and family members. This
may happen several times a day.

“Unfortunately, our bodies still react with these same, archaic fight
or flight responses that are now not only not useful but potentially
damaging and deadly.  Repeatedly invoked, it is not hard to see how
they can contribute to hypertension, strokes, heart attacks, diabetes,
ulcers, neck or low back pain and other "Diseases of Civilization".

“These effects are due to increased sympathetic nervous system
activity and an outpouring of adrenaline, cortisol and other
stress-related hormones.”

The American Institute of Stress


The modern study of the mind-body connection is called by many
names—psychoneuroimmunology, psychophysiology,
neuropsychology…basically they all mean how thoughts and feelings
affect the nervous system and then the body.

 “In general, stress, bereavement, chronic care giving, loneliness,
anger, trauma and difficult marital relationships negatively impact,
in a measurable way, how our bodies function.  However, research has
verified we can positively affect our health with love, friendship,
laughter, spirituality, a positive outlook, meditation, yoga,
exercise, massage, music, the creative arts, journaling, being in
nature, and having pets.”


“Two of the most important mind-body findings about immune cells are:

1)  An immune cell’s cortisol receptors are the direct link from
stress to the immune system.

2)  An immune cell’s neurotransmitter receptors are the direct link
from mood to the immune system.

Therefore, what we do or don’t do to positively impact stress and mood
can have far reaching effects on our health.”

Mind-Body Science



According to a recent DNA study at the University of Texas-Houston
Medical School even relatively minor stress, such as taking a test,
may provoke short-term damage to the cells' DNA.

“The researchers looked at the activity of the students' DNA repair
systems in the midst of a five-day exam period and again three weeks
later, after winter break. The DNA repair system is part of the body's
immune system and becomes active in response to damage to cells'
genetic material. The damage can be monitored by examining blood
samples. As part of the investigation, the students answered questions
about their stress levels. Predictably, students' stress levels were
higher during exams than after vacation. In 75 percent of the students
(12 of 16), DNA repair activity was higher during exam time,
suggesting that heightened stress damages DNA. Healthy people recover
quickly from this damage, but repair may be less effective when stress
goes unrelieved.”
The University of Texas-Houston Medical School study was published in
a recent issue of the Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Stress and aging interacts to weaken the body's ability to heal itself
and ward off illness according to researchers at Ohio State

“Caregivers of people with Alzheimer's took an average of 24 percent
longer to heal from a tiny cut.”

“Family members who cared for an Alzheimer's patient an average of
five years had significantly more days of infectious illness, such as
a cold, than those without such stress.”

Health News Feature: Can Stress Cause Long-Term Health Problems?


According to the American Psychological Association, behavior plays a
key role in disease development and control.

Immune Function and Health

“Negative emotions can lower immunity and can lead to increased risk
for cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, arthritis and certain
cancers. Researchers have found that the endocrine system serves as
one central gateway for psychological influences on health; stress and
depression can provoke the release of pituitary and adrenal hormones
that have multiple effects on immune function and can lead to actual
health changes.”

Coronary Heart Disease 

“Studies have demonstrated the negative effects of hostility,
depression and social isolation on CHD, with similar results in
studies dealing with job stress and social conflict. These risk
factors are associated with psychophysiological mechanisms through
which stress and emotions could influence CHD and coronary artery
disease (CAD). “


“Research shows asthma can be affected by stress, anxiety and sadness.
Recent findings show that airways are just as reactive to
psychological state as other physiological conditions.“

The American Psychological Association (APA)


Stress and Atherosclerosis
Researchers at the University of Southern California found a link
between stress levels in men and carotid atherosclerosis.

“In this 18-month study of 573 middle-aged utility company employees,
men and women (aged 40 to 60) indicated how they perceived
work-related stress. Thirty-six percent of the men with high levels of
job-related stress had a buildup of plaque in their carotids, compared
to 21% of the men with low levels. Lead researcher Dr. James H. Dwyer
says the results "suggest that men with greater work-related stress
are at increased risk for atherosclerosis."
[Epidemiology, March 2001]


Emotions and their Role in Cancer by W. John Diamond, M.D. and W. Lee
Cowden, M.D. with Burton Goldberg

“Under emotional distress, the brain may signal the adrenal glands to
produce chemicals called corticosteroids, hormones which weaken the
immune response. Cancer-related processes are accelerated in the
presence of these chemicals1 as well as other stress hormones like
prolactin. Certain cancers have also been associated with distressing
life events. In one study, the risk of developing breast cancer was
five times higher if the woman had experienced an important emotional
loss in the six years prior to the discovery of the tumor.”

Innerself Publications


“Our behavior is a major factor in whether we can cope with stress or
not. There are two personality types and those of type 'A' are three
times more likely to get coronary heart disease than type 'B'.

Type 'A' 
Ruthless - tend to dominate 
Permanent hostility 
Trying to do many things at once 
Personal insecurity 

Type 'B' - State of balance 
Ability to see the long view
Ability to delegate 
Speed is not an issue 
Secure in their personal identity 
Most people will fall between the two extremes.”

System Support Services


This brief (2 page) document with diagrams illustrates the
physiological effects of stress.

Search Criteria:

stress cause diseases OR illness
mind-body health impact 
role of  emotions in disease
impact of stress on health
physiological reactions to stress
stress and the immune system. 
stress and Cancer.

Thank you for your question and I hope this response has provided you
with the information you were seeking.

Best Regards,
qpet-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
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