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31.03.2020


How divorced parents can mess up their children's immune systems

In this frightening period, when half the world's population lives in lockdown, everyone is aware of how precious an effective immune system is. You don't have complete control over how well your immune system functions, American psychologists at Carnegie Mellon University discovered. If your parents divorced at a young age, and then stopped talking to each other, the effectiveness of your immune system is about halved.

Study
The researchers infected 201 healthy subjects aged 18-55 with a cold virus - with rhinovirus-37, to be precise. They put the virus in drops, which they dropped into the subjects' noses.

After the virus had been administered, the subjects quarantined for 5 days. Then the researchers determined which of them got a cold.

Before being infected, the subjects had told the researchers about the conditions of their childhood.

Results
The subjects with parents who were together were just as likely to catch a cold as the subjects with divorced parents who were still talking to each other. The chances of having colds with divorced and non-speaking parents were significantly higher.


How divorced parents can mess up their children's immune systems


The researchers found significantly higher concentrations of the inflammatory factors interleukin-1-beta, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor in the nose of the subjects with divorced and, non-speaking parents than in the nose of the other two groups. This overreaction is apparently related to the poor functioning of the immune system in this group.

Conclusion
"This study provides theoretical insights regarding the association between childhood parental separation and adult health", the researchers summarize.

"Given the wide prevalence of parental separation and divorce and limited intervention resources, these findings have important implications for better understanding who is at increased risk for deleterious health consequences following parental separation."

Source:
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017;114(25):6515-20.

More:
Avoiding stress is preventing virus infection 27.03.2020
Happy people catch cold less quickly 22.03.2012
Meditation prevents colds 15.12.2012

Archives:
Immune System
Psychology


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