Stress has always been associated with bad news. Stress can cause death. Stress can increase the levels of inflammatory molecules in the body that alter cancer cells and contributes to our arteries. But what would happen if the stress hormones injected to the sick?
Stress hormones are known to suppress the cells of the immune system, which makes us vulnerable to infection. However, the recent evidence suggests that brief stress is good for health, ward off infections, helps to heal wounds and speed recovery after surgery.
There is some suspicion that the stress hormone injections can be used to help people recover from illness.
Researchers at Stanford University in the United States, which has been investigating the beneficial effects of anxiety and stress. They said the injection may be beneficial for those who will undergo surgery or anyone who does vaccination, for the immune system.
In a 2009 study, the Stanford team showed that stress helps speed recovery after surgery. They studied 57 patients who underwent knee surgery to repair damaged cartilage in their joints.
A few days before surgery, researchers took blood samples to count the number of immune cells in the body system in each patient. Then, in the morning, they repeated the procedure only a few minutes before a general anesthetic is given.
The researchers were able to identify patients who are at increased immune system cells as a result of the stress of the operation. And next year, they monitor the speed of their recovery.
The results show, they are most stressed recover faster, have less pain, better knee function and mobility greater than the stress response is weaker.
The research was published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.
And in their latest study, the Stanford team was able to determine how stress increases the body’s immune system. Researchers often perform blood tests on mice that causes them to become stressed.
They monitored the changes in blood levels of three hormones (norepinephrine, epinephrine and cortisol) are released, when the brain feel their bodies are under threat.
They found that when rats were stressed, the brain immediately ordered the release of hormones in a certain way, first norepinephrine, and epinephrine, and cortisol last.
Every hormones seem to have a special role in the fight against the disease. Norepinephrine, for example, have a duty to mobilize the cells into the bloodstream.
Epinephrine, responsible for sending them to the skin to act as protection in case of injury.
Response of these hormones, collecting the cells in the shield are most at risk of attack.
However, stress can be beneficial only for a moment suffer from stress. Chronic stress in the long run shows can suppress the immune system by lowering the levels of white blood cells, which are an important part of the body’s defense against infection.
Professor Dhabhar explained, this evidence suggests that short-term stress can increase the immune defenses such as vaccination or surgery.
“The key is that stress really should short time, which lasted only a minute or the hour”.
Professor Dhabhar and his team plan to continue the study with a low dose of the stress hormone injected to the patient before surgery.
“If this is successful, it could be applied, a relatively inexpensive method to enhance immune function,” he said