Thursday, November 28, 2013

Immunology: The pursuit of happiness

Researchers have struggled to identify how certain states of mind influence physical health. One biologist thinks he has an answer.
Jo Marchant 27 November 2013
When Steve Cole was a postdoc, he had an unusual hobby: matching art buyers with artists that they might like. The task made looking at art, something he had always loved, even more enjoyable. “There was an extra layer of purpose. I loved the ability to help artists I thought were great to find an appreciative audience,” he says.
At the time, it was nothing more than a quirky sideline. But his latest findings have caused Cole — now a professor at the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at the University of California, Los Angeles — to wonder whether the exhilaration and sense of purpose that he felt during that period might have done more than help him to find homes for unloved pieces of art. It might have benefited his immune system too.……..At the time, mainstream science rejected the idea that any psychological state, positive or negative, could affect physical well-being. But studies during the 1980s and early 1990s revealed that the brain is directly wired to the immune system — portions of the nervous system connect with immune-related organs such as the thymus and bone marrow, and immune cells have receptors for neurotransmitters, suggesting that there is crosstalk……“Mood matters. If we change the psychology, physiological changes do parallel that.”…… The researchers are not the first from the PNI community to face accusations of wishful thinking. Indeed, the story of the field's founder — hailed in the press as proof of the power of positive emotions — has been questioned…..To Read More…..
My Take – First off,  I believe having good feelings helps create good health, if for no other reason, negative feelings such as hate, anger, envy generate destructive chemicals in the system.  Positive emotions generate the opposite.  Will positive thinking cure cancer?  I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that it helps, in conjunction with medical treatments, but I have serious doubts positive feelings will do it on its own.  However, as I read this I couldn’t help but chuckle because there is one component to this you won’t find in any – or almost any – scientific study; the religious component.  Proverbs 14:30 Amplified Bible (AMP) says; A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones. 
I find that interesting….don’t you?

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