Happy Marriage a Good Defense Against Flu
A team from the University of Birmingham, UK found that stressful
life events had an effect on the immune response to the annual flu
jab. This immune response is thought to be a good indication of the
body's capacity to fight back against the virus itself.
Their research showed that happily married people are more likely
to fight off flu effectively. On the other hand, those who are
recently bereaved or divorced may find it hard to fight the virus.
The Birmingham team examined levels of antibodies in the blood.
The body produces these antibodies to combat disease. An increase in
antibody levels indicates that the body's immune system is better
prepared to fight off infection.
The researchers studied more than 180 people aged over 65 from
surgeries across Birmingham. Those who said they were happily
married had much higher levels of antibodies in the blood than those
who reported lower marital satisfaction. And those that had suffered
a bereavement in the year prior to vaccination had a poorer response
than those who had not suffered bereavement.
Dr John Moore-Gillon, president of the British Lung Foundation,
said: "Many things can affect the immune system, and this research
suggests that the state of someone's mind may be one of them.
"The research certainly shows that we need to try and understand
more about how the mind and the body interact in both health and