Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Canada Medicine Idle Science

Look At Sick People To Give Your Immune System a Boost 271

Scientists at the University of British Columbia have found that looking at someone who appears sick boosts your immune system. Subjects had blood taken before and after watching a 10-minute slide show that contained disturbing images including people who appeared sick. Results of the blood tests showed people who had seen the sick people had a stronger immune system. From the article: "In the study, young adults were asked to watch a 10-minute slide show containing a series of unpleasant photographs. Some pictures included people who looked obviously ill in some way. The subjects' blood samples were then tested for levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a substance produced by the immune system that indicates your immune system is ramping up to more aggressively fight infection. As a control, pictures of people brandishing guns were also used on some participants—and they barely resulted in a significant increase in IL-6 production, signifying that IL-6 production is not simply a reaction to stress."


This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Look At Sick People To Give Your Immune System a Boost

Comments Filter:
  • Stress? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @12:40PM (#31749804)
    If they wanted to control for stress, showing pictures of guns in not going to do it. The average person does not get stressed when they see a picture of a gun. For an accurate control of stress, they would need to have someone burst in with a prop gun. THAT will cause stress. In any case, is it really a surprise that the body will boost its immunity when it detects a possible disease threat? I think we have a word that already accounts for that: evolution.
  • by jjeffries ( 17675 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @12:56PM (#31750032)
    My immune system is currently plenty strong and I never get sick; if I look at sick people and boost it even further, will I get an autoimmune disease?
  • The control would have covered that, and it could indeed have accounted for the "barely significant" raise in levels in the controls.
  • by clone53421 ( 1310749 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @01:43PM (#31750840) Journal

    You said its sole purpose is “to maim and or kill people”. This is incorrect.

    A weapon worn for self-defense has two purposes.

    Its primary purpose is to show the threat of maiming or killing the would-be assailant. Its secondary purpose is to maim and/or kill an attacker who was not deterred by its primary purpose.

    However, the “sole” purpose (nor the primary purpose even) is NOT to maim and/or kill.

    Besides all of which, you say “maim and or kill” as if maiming and/or killing an attacker in self-defense is wrong.

  • Re:Makes good sense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @01:56PM (#31751124)
    Look, I believe in evolution, but it "explains" almost anything you can imagine, such as why humans have wings (to evade predators, of course). (My remark is by no means [wikipedia.org] a new insight). So we need to be careful about rationalizing things in retrospect.
  • by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @02:49PM (#31751966)

    My first thought was that pictures of people brandishing guns are so ubiquitous -- a large portion of the entertainment industry is devoted to exactly that -- that they're not necessarily a source of actual stress in most people. The researchers would have been better off using a loud, unexpected noise (dropping a heavy book on the floor behind the subject has been used in some experiments) or requiring the subjects to complete some arbitrary puzzle with a time limit if they wanted to generate stress in their subjects.

    Personally, I'd have used a photo of a client demanding IE6 compatibility for their new web app.

  • by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:18PM (#31754182) Homepage
    It is desirable becasue that is all part of shooting real bullets out of a gun. If I wanted to shoot lasers, I would. The recoil isn't that hard to simulate - I shot a gun loaded with blanks that had a laser targeting system on it. Probably the closest you can get to simulating the firing of a real bullet. That said it still wasn't even close to the real thing, but closer than some other alternatives.

Computers don't actually think. You just think they think. (We think.)