Dwelling upon negative events can increase amounts of inflammation in the body, a new Ohio University study finds.
Researchers discovered that when study participants were asked to ruminate on a stressful incident, their amounts of C-reactive protein, a marker associated with tissue inflammation, rose. The study will be the first time to directly measure this particular effect in the body.
“Much of the past work has looked over this in non-experimental designs. Experts have asked people to report their particular tendency to ruminate, and then appeared to see if it connected to physiological issues. It’s been correlational for the most part, ” said Peggy Zoccola, an assistant professor of psychology at Ohio University.
Zoccola will be lead author on the new study, which she will present Friday at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in Miami, Fla.
The research team recruited thirty four healthy young women to participate in the particular project. Each woman was questioned to give a speech about the girl candidacy for a job to 2 interviewers in white laboratory layers, who listened with stone-faced expression, Zoccola said.
Half of the group was asked to contemplate their performance in the speaking in public task, while the other half was questioned to think about neutral images and activities, such as sailing ships or food store trips.
The particular researchers drew blood samples that showed that the levels of C-reactive protein had been significantly higher in the subjects who have been asked to dwell on the talk, Zoccola reported.
For these participants, the levels of the inflammatory marker continued to rise for one or more hour after the speech. During the same time period, the marker returned to starting levels in the subjects who had been asked to focus on other thoughts.
The C-reactive protein will be primarily produced by the liver as part of the immune system’s initial inflammatory response. It rises in response to traumas, accidental injuries or infections in the body, Zoccola described.
C-reative protein is widely used as a clinical marker to determine if a patient has an illness, but also if he or she may be at risk to get disease later in life.
“More and more, chronic inflammation is being related to various disorders and conditions, ” Zoccola said. “The immune system plays an important role in various cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, as well as cancer, dementia and autoimmune diseases. ”
Source: Ohio Universtity