Lets get psychological for a second here, the folks at Cornegie Mellon University tested whether hugs act as a form of social support, aids protecting stressed people from getting sick such as a cold. The findings were published in the Association for Psychological Science journal.
Sheldon Cohen and his team chose hugging as a social support example because they’re a marker of having a more intimate and close relationship with another person. They already knew that those who have some social support are partly protected from the effects of stress on the psychological state of the individual, such as depression and anxiety.
On the 404 healthy adults tested, a telephoned questionnaire was done whereby these adults are asked during a 14 day period their state is. This included the frequency of conflicts and receiving hugs. These participants were intentionally exposed to a common cold virus and monitored in quarantine to assess the progress of infection, and if they develop any signs and symptoms.
The results showed that those who had social support had a reduced risk of infection associated compared to those who were associated with conflicts. It also showed those that were infected, those with greater social support and more frequent hugs results in a less severe illness symptom.
Cohen mentions “that being hugged by a trusted person may act as an effective means of conveying support and that increasing the frequency of hugs might be an effective means of reducing the deleterious effects of stress”. He goes on to also state, “The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy.”
So to conclude, those who receive more hugs are generally more protected from infections, even if it allows for skin to skin contact, it psychologically aids in improving the well being of that individual. Give a hug, get a hug.
Source: Hugs Help Protect Against Colds by Boosting Social Support
Image: Free Hugs
Recently read a study based on young adults (aged 18 – 34) who drank enough to exceed 0.08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) showed signs of increased immune function. But at 2 and 5 hours later, their immune system showed reduced activity compared to those who are sober.
It’s clear that alcohol affects the immune system in many ways, from hours to days after exposure. This study focus’ on the early effects of alcohol of the immune system while blood alcohol content is still elevated.
Volunteers were given a high-dose alcohol content. Blood was collected pre-ingestion of alcohol, 20 mins, 2 hours and 5 hours post alcohol ingestion. Flow cytometry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) techniques were used.
Results showed an increase in total circulating leukocytes, monocytes and natural killer cells only after 20 mins after ingestion, where BAC was at around 130 mg/dL. There was also an increase in tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-Alpha levels. AT 2 to 5 hours, immune function and activity reduced. It concluded that binge alcohol increased immune activity and function in it’s early pro-inflammatory state, which was followed by an anti-inflammatory state thereafter.
Afshar, M., Richards, S., Mann, D., Cross, A., Smith, G., Netzer, G., Kovacs, E. and Hasday, J. (2014). Acute Immunomodulatory Effects of Binge Alcohol Ingestion. Alcohol. [online] Available at: http://www.alcoholjournal.org/article/S0741-8329(14)20186-8/abstract [Accessed 30 Dec. 2014].
Hey there, I’ll keep this short and sweet. My name is Sunite (pronounced Su-nit, silent e) I’m an Biomedical Sciences student currently in my third year of university. I made this science blog in order to share what I love about the sciences. I’ll try to keep it as relevant and understandable as I can.
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