Immune System and the Brain

Excess adrenaline and cortisol can suppress immune system function. (Childre, Doc. Freeze Frame. p 2-3. CA: Planetary Publications, 1994, 1998.)

Refer to Affirmation and the Brain for additional information.

Refer to Aging and the Brain for additional information.

Study: a small percentage of people who lack the chemokine receptor (due to a rare genetic mutation) never got AIDS regardless of high-risk behavior. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p 197-201, 317-318. NY:Scribner, 1997.)

Allergic symptoms can appear (e.g., acute reaction as in hay fever, joint pain, headache, or fatigue; chronic reactions; anger, and degenerative reactions) when the immune system becomes exhausted through over use. (Appleton, Nancy, PhD. Lick the Sugar Habit. p 44-50. NY: Avery Penguin Putnam, 1996.)

Study: One 5-minute episode of mentally and emotionally recalling an experience of anger resulted in a rise in IgA, followed by severe depletion (e.g., took the body more than 6 hours to restore normal production of IgA). A single episode of recalling an experience of anger and frustration can suppress the immune system for a day. (Childre, Doc. Freeze Frame. p 41-43. CA: Planetary Publications, 1194, 1998.)

Simply remembering/recalling an angry feeling for about five minutes can impair the immune system for over six hours. Imagine what a really angry outburst could do! (Childre, Doc and Howard Martin. The HeartMath Solution. p 162-164. CA:Harper SF, 1999.)

Study of anti-immunity foods: Avoid refined sugars, chocolate, candy, syrups, and all artificial sweets. This can help to reduce a risk for diet-induced cancer. (Weiner, Michael A., PhD. Maximum Immunity. p 87. MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1986.)

The body may be born with all the diferent types of antibodies it is going to have. Most of them will never encounter a matching foregin antigen. Those that do, are activated and produce many clones of themselves that bind to and inactivate the invading antigen. (Gazzaniga, Michael S. Who's In Charge? p 18-19. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2009)

Landmark research from Medical Research Council Lab of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge UK: Viruses are the number one killer of human beings, responsible for twice as many deaths each year as cancer. Viruses are, however, among the hardest of all diseases to treat. Until now it was though that antibodies could only reduce infection by attacking viruses outside cells or by blocking the entry of viruses into cells. Studies by Dr. Leo James has shown that antibodies are able to fight viruses from wtihin infected cells. (Editor. A Cure for the Common Cold?)

A number of things can serve as an emotional antidote to stress or illness (e.g., laugher, humor, appreciation of life, responding to art, music, social support system). (Cousins, Norman, MD (honorary). Head First. p 145-148. NY: Penguin Books, 1989.)

Discusses autoimmune responses as glandular-level anxiety. Whatever suppresses the self (e.g., dependency, excessive adapting) can suppress the immune system; whatever stimulates the self often stimulates immune system function. (Friedman, Edwin H. Generation to Generation. p 127-130. NY: The Guilford Press, 1985.)

Study of how a person’s own beliefs can improve health or produce actual symptoms of illness: 64% of patients improved within 14 days when given good news compared to 39% improvement in patients who received bad news or negative feedback. (Benson, Herbert, MD., with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 22-45. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

What the mind believes impacts the body’s biological functions. Once beliefs are in place, people rarely challenge their validity even in the face of contradictory evidence. (Newberg, Andrew, MD., and Mark Robert Waldman. Why We Believe What We Believe. p 4-5. NY: Free Press, 2006.)

Ordinarily, immune system cells cannot pass through the BBB. Therefore the brain is deprived of access to immune system defenses. After damage to the BBB, however, specific immune system cells in the blood can enter the damaged brain tissue and transform into microglia (refer to Glial Cells – the Other Brain for additional information). (Fields, R. Douglas, PhD. The Other Brain. p 41-44. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2009.)

Candace Pert PhD, discoverer of the endorphin receptor, said that the brain and nervous system have mutual receptors throughout the body. Pert coined the term bodymind since it didn’t make sense to speak of them separately. (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 28-29. GA: Bard Press, 2000.)

Study: any receptor on an immune cell would also be found on cells in the brain. At this molecular level there really was no distinction between the mind and the body. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p 192-193. NY: Scribner, 1997.)

Using freeze-frame techniques on a regular basis can boost immune system and maintain a coherent, healthy inner environment so that your body can save energy and remain youthful and strong. (Childre, Doc. Freeze Frame. p 53. CA: Planetary Publications, 1994 and 1998.)

You can think of the immune system as an extension of the brain, and the skin as an immune organ (e.g., one reason touch is so important). (Perricone, Nicholas, MD. The Perricone Promise. p 6-7. NY:Warner Books, 2004.)

The immune system is really the body’s brain. Like the brain, the immune system can learn. (Goleman, Daniel, PhD. Emotional Intelligence. p 164-166. NY:Bantam Books, 1995.)

The inter-relationship between the central nervous system and immune system is bidirectional. Products of activated immune cells feed back to the brain and alter neural activity resulting in a “sickness response.” Only the brain can orchestrate such a pervasive array of changes. (Watkins, Linda R., and Steven F. Maier. Implications of immune-to-brain communication for sickness and pain. PNSA, 1988.)

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine have imaged in real time the body’s immune response to a parasitic infection in the brain. Hunter, professor and chair of the Department of Pathobiology at Penn Vet, said, “...in the brain, specialized structures are induced by inflammation that guide migration of T cells in this immune-privileged environment and allow them to perform a search-and-destroy type of mission required to find abnormal cells or microbes with the brain.” (Brain Structure Assists In Immune Response. ScienceDaily. 2009.)

A group of enzymes known as DNA methyltransferases or Dnmts play a role in inflammation and immunity, and also in the sexual differentiation of the brain. They can modify DNA to repress gene expression. In addition, microglia, inflammatory immune cells, appear to play a role in masculinization, in part through their production of prostaglandins, a neurochemical normally associated with illness. The immune system is integral to the development of the brain but this study is the first to show that it is also important for establishment of sex differences in the brain. (Margaret McCarthy, PhD, and Bridget Nugent, PhD, et al. “Brain feminization requires active repression of masculinization via DNA methylation.” Nature Neuroscience, 2015; DOI: 10.1038/nn.3988)

Refer to Brain-Body Connection for additional information.

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have found that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by lymphatic vessels previously thought not to exist. This changes entirely the way researchers perceive the neuro-immune interaction. Since it is thought that every neurological disease has an immune component to it, these vessels may play a major role. Jonathan Kipnis, has pointed out that in Alzheimer’s, there are accumulations of big protein chunks in the brain—they may be accumulating in the brain because they’re not being efficiently removed by these vessels. And there is an array of other neurological diseases, from autism to multiple sclerosis to be reconsidered in light of the presence of something science did not know about or even believe existed. (https://news.virginia.edu/content/researchers-find-textbook-altering-link-between-brain-immune-system)

Breastfed babies have an IQ edge over their formula-fed peers. There are also a host of immune-system boosts that a baby receives when breastfed. Breast milk has been found to contain stem cells. (Hartley, Jo. Stem Cells Discovered in Human Breast Milk.)

Studies have shown a connection between obesity in women and an increased risk for symptoms of mental deterioration. Now studies have connected being overweight with an increased risk of cancer reoccurrence, especially in relation to hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. The trials were led by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (now part of the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group). They involved 6,885 women treated with standard chemotherapy for breast cancer and followed for eight years. Results, published in the American Cancer Society Journal. showed a 30 percent higher risk of recurrence and a 50 percent higher risk of death when compared with death rates for women of normal weight who had breast cancer. (Source)

Although many factors contribute to developing cancer, there are only two fundamental causes for all disease: nutrient deficiency and toxicity (toxic overloads). Body-care products can be a major source of toxins. For example, Dr. Phillippa Darbre, has found parabens (preservatives found in many underarm deodorants) in all malignant upper-outer quadrant breast tumors she analyzed. Parabens are known endocrine disruptors and suspeced carcinogens. (Francis, Raymond M.Sc., and Harvey Diamond. Never Fear Cancer Again. FL:Health Communications Inc, 2011. Darbre, p.D. "Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours." Journal of Applied Toxicology, 2004;24(1):5-13. Barr, L. "Measurement of paraben concentrations in human breast tissue..." Journal of Applied Toxicology, 2012; 32(3):219-232)

Cancer is a failure of brakes that stop cellular division thus leading to runaway growth of cells into tumors). Cell division is so intricately regulated that it typically requires several failures in the control process to unleash runaway cell division, one reason there will never be the equivalent of a vaccine to cure all cancer. Brain cancer typically involves glial cells as mature neurons don’t divide and multiply as do glia. (Fields, R. Douglas, PhD. The Other Brain. p 69-72. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2009.)

The evidence that all types of alcoholic drinks increse the risk of a number of cancers is now stronger than it was in the mid-1990s (although modest amounts may have some protective cardiovascular benefits). There is convincing evidence that alcohol increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, and breast (as well as colorectal cancer in men). Alcoholic drinks also probably increase the risk of colorectal cancer in women as well as liver cancer. (Source)

A strong association exists between alcohol use and cancers of the esophagus, pharynx, and mouth, whereas a more controversial association links alcohol with liver, breast, and colorectal cancers. Cancer Facts and Figures. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society, 1993. (Source)

Even a few drinks a week is linked with an increased risk of breast cancer in women. This risk may be especially high in women who do not get enough folate (a B vitamin) in their diet or through supplements. Alcohol can affect estrogen levels in the body, which may explain some of the increased risk. Drinking less alcohol may be an important way for many women to lower their risk of breast cancer. (Source)

Alcohol (likely the ethanol component) is a known cause of several types of cancers (e.g., mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum breast, and maybe pancreas). The risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. (Source)

Each human body contains tiny cancerous tumors at any given time. The job of natural killer cells is to attack and destroy these tiny tumors and rid the body of cancerous growths. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p 192. NY: Scribner, 1997.)

Study: Survival rates appear to be influenced by the patient’s age, health prior to diagnosis, and the type and location of cancer. There was no direct link between social ties, hopefulness, or level of adjustedness to life. (Gilbert, Gary, MD. Is a Merry Heart like a Placebo? p 36-43. WA: Spectrum, Vol 26, No. 4, January 1998.)

The highly toxic chemotherapeutic drugs developed in the 1950’s kill all rapidly dividing cells, cancerous as well as healthy. The body’s natural defense system against cancer is itself composed of cells that are rapidly dividing so the drugs affect this, as well. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p 153. NY: Scribner, 1997.)

Emotional stress may increase risk of cancer: directly (e.g., trigger abnormal cell development) or indirectly (e.g., reducing immune competence or surveillance). (Cousins, Norman, MD (honorary). Head First. p 80-100. NY: Penguin Books, 1989.)

The immune system creates antibodies against viral invaders (e.g., measles). The cells retain the genetic memory of this antibody and pass the information along to the cell’s progeny when it divides. The cells both learned and created memory. (Lipton, Bruce H., PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 38-39. CA: Mountain of Love / Elite Books, 2005.)

Refer to Cellular Memory (Epigenetics) for additional information.

Study: Rollin McCraty, IHM Director: In some cases of chronic fatigue, the extra wear and tear from stress placed on the autonomic nervous system and the glands and organs they control, depletes the nervous system. (Childre, Doc. Freeze Frame. p 50-51. CA: Planetary Publications, 1194, 1998.)

CFIDS it is a form of stress-induced chronic depression. If started early, exercise and antidepressants can help. This condition in women is nothing new but has been known by a variety of labels: Hypoglycemia in the 1980s, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the 1990s, and Hurried Woman Syndrome presently. (Bost, Brent W., MD, FACOG. Hurried Woman Syndrome. p 30-32. NY: Vantage Press, 2001.)

Anecdotal reports of hospitalized patients who are visited by clergy: the patients seem to get better more quickly. Clergy can help patients to reframe the situation. (Benson, Herbert, MD., with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 162-163. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

Study: Cocaine use can increase the abuser’s risk of illnesses and infections due to suppression of the immune system (e.g., interleukin-6). (Zickler, Patrick. NIDA NOTES. p 6. MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Volume 18, Number 6, Feb 2004.)

The rheovirus, a cause of the viral cold, attaches to receptors for norepinephrine (believed to be present in happy states of mind). In a happy state of mind the rheovirus cannot enter the cell because norepinephrine attaches to all available receptors. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p 188-190. NY: Scribner, 1997.)

Studies: there are receptors on immune cells for virtually every peptide or drug identified in the brain (e.g., Valium, Substance p). The immune System can send information to the brain via immunopeptides and receive information via neuropeptides. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p 163-165. NY: Scribner, 1997.)

Two key elements form the body’s communication system: chemical substances known as neuropeptides, and receptors into which they fit. Cells throughout the body, including cells in the immune system, stomach, and heart, have neuropeptide receptors. (Pearsall, Paul, PhD. The Heart’s Code. p 224-225. NY: Random House, Inc., 1998.)

Study: one 5-minute episode of mentally and emotionally experiencing the emotions of care and compassion caused a 34% average increase in IgA followed by a return to normal baseline. However, the IgA levels then gradually climbed above baseline throughout the next 6 hours. (Childre, Doc. Freeze Frame. p 41-43. CA: Planetary Publications, 1194, 1998.)

High levels of cortisol due to chronic stress impair immune system function, impair memory and learning, and destroy brain cells. (Childre, Doc and Howard Martin. The HeartMath Solution. p 55. CA:Harper SF, 1999.)

Cortisol, a hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex in association with the stress response, inhibits immune system activity. (Tortora, Gerard J., and Sandra R. Grabowski. Principles of Anatomy and Physiology, 10th Edition. p 795. NY John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003.)

Excess adrenaline and cortisol can cause the immune system to shut down. (Childre, Doc. Freeze Frame. p 2-3. CA: Planetary Publications, 1994, 1998.)

During instances of well being, communication between the central nervous system and immune system is well tuned and balanced. However, a disturbed crosstalk between the CNS and the immune system is thought to play a major role in a wide series of disorders characterized by a hyporesponsive or hyperresponsive immune system (e.g., MS). (Kern, Simone and Tjalf Ziemssen. Brain–immune communication psychoneuroimmunology of multiple sclerosis. September 2007.)

Study: belief by patients they would die during surgery can occur for variety of reasons (e.g., relief from anguish, conflict resolution, belief in reunion with lost love). (Benson, Herbert, MD., with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 52-55. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

Episodes of stress can depress portions of the immune system (e.g., academic examinations, social isolation or loneliness). (Appleton, Nancy, PhD. Lick the Sugar Habit. p 56-57. NY: Avery Penguin Putnam, 1996.)

Negative dietary habits that can weaken the immune system include excessive consumption of sugar, caffeine, and alcohol (especially if combined with skipping breakfast and an inadequate protein intake). (Kaiser, Jon D., MD. Immune Power. p 28-30. NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1993.)

Studies: Causes of disease include the prolonged use of drugs (e.g., Fen-Fen), and environmental toxins. Cancer has been connected with environmental pollutants (e.g., breast cancer is highest in areas that once used to be agricultural land with use of pesticides and herbicides). (Pert, Candace, PhD. Your Body is Your Subconscious Mind (audio Cassettes). CO: Sounds True, 2000.)

Describes disease as a process. Explains that conditions of early life (whether chosen or imposed) often cause or prevent later problems. (Snowdon, David, PhD. Aging with Grace. p 17. NY: Bantam Books, 2001.)

All honest emotions are healthy and positive; they unite the mind and the body. Anger, fear, and sadness, the so-called negative emotions, are as healthy as peace, courage and joy. To repress them results in stress that blocks sufficient flow of peptide signals to maintain function at the cellular level and can lead to disease. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p 192-193. NY: Scribner, 1997.)

An insulin spike from simple-sugar foods can suppress your immune system for five (5) hours. And sugar has also been shown to feed cancer cells. (Gary Kaplan, D.O., founder of The Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine in McLean, Virginia)

Refer to Emotions and Feelings for additional information.

A huge release of endorphins (e.g., in response to pain or stress) can bind to natural killer cells and decrease their effectiveness, thus actually suppressing immune system function. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 29-31. MA: Allyn & Bacon, 1996.)

Your immune system is the most sensitive system of your body to your energy level. For energy, completely avoid white sugar, alcohol, cigarettes, white flour, etc. (Kaiser, Jon D., MD. Immune Power. p 20-22. NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1993.)

Refer to Energy and the Brain for additional information.

The immune system is the main body system that utilizes free radicals. Foreign invaders or damaged tissue is marked with free radicals by the immune system. This allows for determination of which tissue need to be removed from the body. (Free Radical Introduction. Website)

Phagocytic cells generate oxygen free radicals to kill invading pathogens. There is also a large body of evidence indicating that oxygen free radicals are involved in intercellular and intracellular signaling. (Free Radicals and Reactive Oxygen. Website)

Freeze-frame is a strategy for reducing stress. Steps are:

  • Step 1: Take a time out
  • Step 2: Shift focus to area around your heart for 10 seconds
  • Step 3: Recall a positive time you’ve had and attempt to reexperience it.
  • Step 4: Ask you heart what would be a more efficient response?
  • Step 5: Listen to what your heart says in answer to your question.

(Childre, Doc. Freeze Frame. p 11. CA: Planetary Publications, 1994 and 1998.)

Studies by Author Stone, PhD, at State U of New York: Having fun and pleasant experiences improve the functioning of the body’s immune system for three days—the day of the event and two days after. (Jensen, Eric, PhD. Brain-Based Learning. p 125-126. CA: The Brain Store, 1995, 2000.)

Studies: Immune Globulin A levels in the saliva rose significantly after participants watched a documentary of Mother Teresa ministering to the sick. (Dossey, Larry. MD. Healing Words. p 149-151. NY: HarperPaperbacks, 1993.)

A woman’s brain can analyze immune system differences within 3 seconds of meeting a man. If her immune system is stronger than his, she is likely to find him less attractive. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. p 38-39. NY: Broadway Books, 1998.

Female body produces antibodies more efficiently so women tend to have a lower incidence of viral/bacterial diseases. The X chromosome carries some of the genes that control immunity and females have 2 X chromosomes while males possess only one. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? p 24, 30, 102. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985.)

Refer to Children and the Brain for additional information.

Refer to Male-Female Differences and the Brain for additional information.

The trillion glia (ten times as many as there are neurons) in the brain, busy multitaskers, come in several forms:

  • Radial glia: serve as ladders or scaffolding in the embryonic brain
  • Microglia: serve as the brain's immune system
  • Schwann cells and Oligodendroctes: form insulating sleeves around neurons to keep their electric signals from diffusing.

(Zimmer, Carl. The Dark Matter of the Human Brain. Discover Presents the Brain. p 62-63. NY:Fall 2010.)

Refer to Glial Cells – the Other Brain for additional information.

Hardiness, characterized by a sense of appropriate control (belief they can impact a situation by way in which they view it), is a quality exhibited by people who tend to stay healthy even while under stress. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 475-480. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Study: research participants improve whether or not they receive placebos or are given active medications/treatments. (Benson, Herbert, MD., with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 52-56. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

According to biophysicist Beverly Rubik, healing is ultimately self-healing, a natural response to internal dynamic shifts or external challenges. (Christman, Linda. Internet article on Energy Medicine. www.sbmyss.sgm)

Superoxide Dismutase, or SOD for short, is a powerful antioxidant enzyme found in green superfoods (e.g., wheat grass, barley grass, spirulina). It helps support brain function and the immune system, and is thought to provide healing energy. Studies have shown that one’s life span is proportional to the amount of SOD in one’s heart, .brain, and liver. (Concoby, Roberts, and David Nicol. Discovered: Nature’s Secret Fountains of Youth. p B-2, C-1 US: Hanford Press, 1993.)

Study of 944 men, Psychologist Anthony Bogaert of Brock University in Ontario Canada: Risk of being gay increases with number of older brothers. Some mothers may develop antibodies to male fetuses and, in subsequent pregnancies, the antibodies may impact portions of the fetal brain that determine sexual orientation. (Klein, Joe. Born Gay, the Brother Factor. p 55. TIME, July 10, 2006.)

Refer to Sexuality and the Brain for additional information.

The Greek physician, Hippocrates (460-357BC) was the first to suggest that chemical substances within the body could affect behavior (via the four humors: blood, black bile, yellow bile, and phlegm). Prior to his time, one’s health was thought to be controlled by good or evil spirits. (Arnold, Caroline. Sex Hormones. p 13-14. NY: William Morrow & Company, 1981.)

The HIV looks like a sphere whose surface is covered by hundreds of sharp protein spikes. It is the surface protein envelope gp120, that permits it to bind to immune, brain, and other cells. T4-CD4 receptors as well as chemokine receptors are required. They work together as a kind of double-locking system. Both receptors are required. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p 197-201, 317-318. NY: Scribner, 1997.)

Humor decreases stress and blood pressure, relaxes muscle tension, can moderate pain, and boost immune defenses. (Restak, Richard, MD. The New Brain. p 90-92. PA: Rodale, 2003.)

Harvard Study, David McClelland: watching a video about Mother Teresa resulted in increased levels of an antibody (secretory IgA) in the saliva. Practicing self-induced caring resulted in an even larger increase. (Childre, Doc and Howard Martin. The HeartMath Solution. p 162-163. CA: Harper SF, 1999.)

Two types of mental imagery: preverbal (acts upon one’s own physical being to change its physiological activity); transpersonal (the consciousness of one person can affect the physiological activity of another). (Dossey, Larry. MD. Healing Words. p 65-69. NY: HarperPaperbacks, 1993.)

An amino acid found in tea, L-Theanine has been reported to benefit both the brain and the immune system. It may help the body's immune system response when fighting infection by boosting the disease-fighting capacity of gamma delta T cells. (Multiple studies cited and references listed.)

Refer to Substances and the Brain for additional information.

Modulation of neuroimmune parameters during and following the humor-associated eustress of laughter may provide beneficial health effects for wellness and a complementary adjunct to whole-person integrative medicine therapies. (Berk, Lee S., PhD., et al. Modulation of Neuroimmune Parameters During the Eustress of Humor-Associated Mirthful Laughter. Alternative Therapies, March 2001, Vol. 7, No. 2)

Mirthful laughter can trigger an increase in activated T cells that had helper/suppressor receptors, an increase in the numbers of natural killer cells. There was also an increase in IgA antibodies, IgG, and IgM. Presented in an interview with Dr. Lee S. Berk. (Dunn, Joseph R., PhD, Ed. New Discoveries in Psychoneuroimmunology Humor & Health Letter. p 2-7. Vol III. No 6, Nov/Dec. MS: 1994.)

Kathleen Dillon of viewing humorous videotapes. Salivary levels of IgA were temporarily boosted after students viewed a humorous film. (Ornstein, Robert, PhD and David Sobel, MD. The Healing Brain. p 154-156. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1987.)

Humor and Laughter stimulate the production of helper T-cells (one type of cells that appears to be attacked by the AIDS virus). (McGhee, Paul E., Ph.D. Emotion: The Key to the Mind's Influence on Health.)

Humor/laughter can stabilize blood pressure, massage inner organs, strengthen immune system function, improve digestion, and may help you live longer. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. p 104-105. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003.)

Outlines benefits including strengthening the immune system, helping with stress and pain management, increasing lung ventilation, lowers blood pressure, and is good preventive medicine. (Neylsen-Cannarella, Sandra L., PhD. The Immunology of Humor. Vol 26, No. 4, p. 28-34. January. WA: Spectrum, 1998.)

Studies: boosts production of immune enhancers, decreases production of stress hormones (e.g., raises IgA levels, lowers levels of cortisol, increases levels of natural killer cells, may help to combat specific diseases). (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 550-560. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan of Loma Linda University in California have been studying the effects of laughter on the immune system. Eustress or good stress is created by laughter. An aerobic exercise, laughter can trigger an:

  • Increase in T Cell activity
  • Increase in IgB that helps antibodies attack dysfunctional/infected cells.
  • Increase in natural killer cells

(Fawcett, Carole., Stress Management Consultant/Laughter Coach. Laughter Facts.)

Study: participants who watched a funny film had temporarily boosted immune system function. “We need to laugh often.” (Ornstein, Robert, PhD, and David Sobel, MD. Healthy Pleasures. p 28. MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1989.)

Mirthful laughter can increase: natural killer cells, T-cells, B-cells (make antibodies) and Gamma-interferon (a disease-fighting protein), It increases the concentration of immunoglobulin A in the saliva, and brings balance to all the components of the immune system. (Bartekian, Vatche. Laughter Can Cure What Ails You. Ask Men website.)

Cousins, Norman Extensive research on laughter therapy began after the New England Journal of Medicine published an article by Norman Cousins in 1976. Later, in 1979, this article became the first chapter of his book, Anatomy of an Illness. In it he explained how he was diagnosed in 1964 with ankylosing spondylitis (auto-immune condition) and the benefits to him of laughter. Gallozzi, Chuck. Benefits of Laughter.

Humor and Laughter increase level and activity of natural killer cells, reduce pain, lower levels of stress hormones (epinephrine, cortisol, dopac) in the blood, and temporarily lower blood pressure. (McGhee, Paul E., Ph.D. The Physical Health Benefits.)

Laughter diminishes the secretion of cortisol and epinephrine, while enhancing immune reactivity. In addition, laughter boosts secretion of growth hormone, an enhancer of these same key immune responses. The physiological effects of a single 1-hour session viewing a humorous video has appeared to last up to 12-24 hours in some individuals. (Expectation of Laughter Boosts Endorphins 27% and Human Growth Hormone 87%).

Laughter increased several brain substances including Human Growth Hormone (HGS), which helps with immunity, and Beta-endorphins, the family of chemicals that alleviates depression and helps moderate pain. (Kataria, Madan, MD. Dr. Kataria School of Laughter Yoga Certified Laughter Yoga Leader Training Manual. India, 2010, Revised Edition.)

Laughter can raise levels of salivary gamma globulin IgA, increase the activity of natural killer cells, promote internal jogging, and stimulate selected cardiovascular benefits. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Healing Beyond the Body. p 136-149. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2001.)

IgA (salivary immunoglobulin type A) is higher in people with a stronger sense of humor, in those who are experiencing positive emotions, and in those who are experiencing love. (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 273-274. GA: Bard Press, 1994, 2000.)

Studies: Epinephrine and cortisol, stress hormones, fell when research participants watched an hour of comedy. (Ornstein, Robert, PhD, and David Sobel, MD. Health Pleasures. p 217-220. NY: Addison-Wesley, 1989.)

Studies by Berk of Loma Linda University: Mirthful laughter can offset symptoms of chronic stress by diminishing secretion of cortisol and epinephrine while enhancing immune reactivity. Physiological effects of a single one-hour view of a humorous video have appeared to last up to 12-24 hours in some individuals. (Berk, Lee S. PhD. Paper presented in an American Physiological Society session at Experimental Biology, 2006. Reported April 3, 2006. www.bigmedicine.ca)

Mirthful laughter can increase: natural killer cells, T-cells, B-cells (make antibodies) and Gamma-interferon (a disease-fighting protein), It increases the concentration of immunoglobulin A in the saliva, and brings balance to all the components of the immune system. (Bartekian, Vatche. Laughter Can Cure What Ails You. Ask Men website.)

Refer to The Brain and Laughter for additional information.

The immune system has memory and the capacity to learn. Intelligence is located not only in the brain but in cells that are distributed throughout the body. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p 187-188. NY: Scribner, 1997.)

Spatial processes are more often impaired along with a weaker immune system and more maturational delays. Typically exhibit listening-task superiority and may have less lateralized ear superiority. Some use both hemispheres equally for processing language. (Jensen, Eric. Brain-Based Learning (Revised). p 21-22. CA: The Brain Store, 2005.)

Studies: Full spectrum lighting in schools reduced the incidence of colds and viral infections among students. (Colby, Barbara, ASID. Color & Light: Influences and Impact. p 52-54. CA: Barbara Colby, 1990.)

The limbic system is an open-loop system. One person can transmit signals that can alter hormone levels, cardiovascular function, sleep rhythms, and even immune function inside the body of another person. (Goleman, Daniel, PhD, with Richard Boyatzis, and Annie Mckee. Primal Leadership. p 6-8. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2002.)

Love positively affects the immune system. Animal studies: love influences a baby animal’s weight gain, learning behavior, emotional reactions, and ability to respond to stress. Animals raised without the requisite love have a weak immune system and weakened response to managing stress. (Fox, Arnold, MD, and Barry Fox, PhD. Wake Up! You’re Alive! 85. FL: Health Communications, 1988.)

The mental and physical reactions that are labeled falling in love are triggered by chemical reactions in the brain (e.g., phenylethylamine, adrenaline, endorphins). People who are in love are at lower risk for illness. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. p 156-157. NY: Broadway Books, 1998.)

Studies by David McClelland: A love for power interferes with the power of love. The immune systems of people who loved power were weaker than those who knew the power of love. Capacity for and willingness to give love (loving others) is equally important to how much a person feels loved. (Pearsall, Paul, PhD. The Heart’s Code. p 226-227. NY: Random House, Inc., 1998.)

Studies: meditation can boost the immune system and serve as a stress reducer. (Bricklin, Mark, Mark Golin, et al. Positive Living and Health. p 218. PA: Rodale Press, 1990.)

Studies: Individuals who had meditated evidenced a definite shift in brain activity toward the left (happier) frontal cortex. (Shreeve, James. Beyond the Brain. National Geographic, Vol. 207, No. 3, p 31. March, 2005.)

Meditation can boost the immune system and serve as a stress reducer. (Bricklin, Mark, et al. Positive Living and Health. p 218. PA: Rodale Press, 1990.)

Refer to Meditation – Prayer for additional information.

Describes the need for balance among 3 aspects in order to achieve health and wellness: self-care, medications, surgery/procedures. (Benson, Herbert, MD, with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 22-24. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

Metaphorical images can be used to help people relax, reduce stress, and heal. Metaphors can provide a guide, something to hold onto, a way to look at something from a more objective perspective. (Padus, Emrika, et al. The Complete Guide to Your Emotions & Your Health. p 221-226, 572. PA: Rodale Press, 1992.)

Two notable figures in the study of microwaved foods are Blanc and Hertel, a former Swiss food scientist and a biochemist, whose research concluded that after eating microwaved food, hemoglobin levels decrease, cholesterol increases, white blood cell count increases, red blood cell count decreases and radiolytic compounds (unknown in nature) are produced in the blood. (Source)

Continually eating food processed from a microwave oven causes long term, permanent, brain damage by "shorting out" electrical impulses in the brain [de-polarizing or de-magnetizing the brain tissue]. Continual ingestion of micro-waved food causes immune system deficiencies through lymph gland and blood serum alterations. Eating microwaved food causes loss of memory, concentration, emotional instability, and a decrease of intelligence. (Source)

A disorder in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath around neuronal axons. (Marcus, Gary, PhD. The Birth of the Mind. p 117-119. NY: Basic Books, 2004.)

The second most common neural disease among young adults (after head injury). It is an autoimmune dysfunction. The immune system identifies brain/spinal cord tissues (e.g., myelin) as foreign invaders and tries to destroy them. (Howard, Pierce, J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 321. NY: Bard Press, 2000.)

Refer to Music and the Brain for additional information.

In addition to receptors on their surfaces, immune cells can make, store, and secrete neuropeptides (chemicals that impact mood). This is an example of the two-way communication between brain and body. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p 182-183. NY: Scribner, 1997.)

Western medicine applies the term psychosomatic illness to the body’s changing of beliefs into physical illness. The body can remember wellness or create illness. Nocebo is the opposite of the placebo’s positive outcomes (examples include voodoo and pseudopregnancy). (Benson, Herbert, MD., with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 22-45. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

Studies have shown a connection between obesity in women and an increased risk for symptoms of mental deterioration. Now studies have connected being overweight with an increased risk of cancer reoccurrence, especially in relation to hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. The trials were led by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (now part of the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group). They involved 6,885 women treated with standard chemotherapy for breast cancer and followed for eight years. Results, published in the American Cancer Society Journal. showed a 30 percent higher risk of recurrence and a 50 percent higher risk of death when compared with death rates for women of normal weight who had breast cancer. (Source)

An optimistic outlook is believed to strengthen the immune system (e.g., optimists recover more quickly after being sick or undergoing serious procedures, report fewer health problems, have half as many infections). (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. p 96-97. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003.)

Reports on studies: an optimistic attitude can actually help to prevent you from getting sick. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 510-512. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Immune cells release peptides that can either increase or decrease the buildup of plaque in coronary blood vessels. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p 188-189. NY: Scribner, 1997.)

People who are pessimistic tend to get sick more frequently and may shorten their life span. (Bricklin, Mark, et al. Positive Living and Health. p 167. PA: Rodale Press, 1990.)

Remembered Wellness is a term coined by Dr. Benson to replace what is often called rather negatively the “placebo effect.” Benson believes it more accurately describes brain functions involved when affirmative messages/beliefs positively impact the brain/body. (Benson, Herbert, MD., with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 20-22. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

Western medicine uses label of psychosomatic illness to describe the body’s changing beliefs into physician illness. Describes how the body can remember wellness or create illness. Nocebo is the opposite of placebo’s positive outcome. (Benson, Herbert, MD., with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 22-45. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

The placebo effect can actually improve health. Recommends Dr. Herbert Benson’s book, Timeless Healing, for additional information. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p 23-32. NY: Scribner, 1997.)

Study Dr. Norman Schwartz. Accumulated environmental pollutants within our bodies may be mimicking and disrupting the action of sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone) that affect the male and female reproductive systems. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p 281. NY: Scribner, 1997.)

Refer to Meditation – Prayer for additional information.

Refer to Spirituality and the Brain for additional information.

A term coined in 1964 by Robert Ader, PhD, MD, director of the division of behavioral and psychosocial medicine at New York's University of Rochester, to describe the brain-body connection. Quotes Jonas Salk as saying: the mind has powers to turn the immune system around. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 21. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Describes this field of medical science as studying links among the mind, nervous system, hormone systems, and the immune system. (Goleman, Daniel, PhD. Emotional Intelligence. p 164-166. NY: Bantam Books, 1995.)

Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) Research: The way in which the brain thinks translates directly to the way in which the body and all its systems operate. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 215. CA: Mountain of Love / Elite Books, 2005.)

Psychoneuroimmunology is a new field and requires more research. In 1985, there were no Psychoneuroimmunology listings cited in Medline, the worlds largest medical database. Between 1995 and 1997 over one hundred publications were posted. (Quinlan, Jay.)

The rabies virus can attach to acetylcholine receptors. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p 200. NY: Scribner, 1997.)

Rage can suppress immune system function, raise blood pressure, and place stress on the heart. (Fisher, Helen, PhD. Why We Love. p 165. NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2004.)

Use of the Relaxation Response can strengthen the immune system. (Benson, Herbert, MD., with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 125-147. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

Activating the Relaxation Response helps to counteract Fight-Flight (a left-brain activity) and encourage activity in the right hemisphere, improving communication between the two hemispheres. (Benson, Herbert, MD, with William Proctor. Your Maximum Mind. p 31-47. NY: Avon Books, 1987.)

Altered states of consciousness can be achieved using the Relaxation Response. Describes 4 elements (quiet place, passive attitude, comfortable position, thought to ponder) and benefits/stress reduction when initiated consciously. (Benson, Herbert, MD, with Miriam Z. Klipper. The Relaxation Response. p 104-156. NY: Avon Books, 1975.)

Use of Benson’s Relation Response can be beneficial in the healing process. (Cousins, Norman, MD (honorary). Head First. p 234-236. NY: Penguin Books, 1989.)

A term coined by Dr. Benson to replace what is often called rather negatively the “placebo effect.” Benson believes it more accurately describes brain functions involved when affirmative messages/beliefs positively impact the brain/body. (Benson, Herbert, MD., with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 20-22. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

The four roots of S.E.L.F. (serenity, exercise, love, and food) when practiced appropriately can give your immune system a boost. They can help you to achieve balance and happiness, and nourish your physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. (Hall, A. Kathleen., PhD. A Life in Balance: Nourishing the Four Roots of True Happiness. p 92. NY: AMACOM, 2006.)

There is a clear biochemical link between the function of immune system cells and deep sleep. (Ornstein, Robert, PhD, and David Sobel, MD. Health Pleasures. p 120-122. NY: Addison-Wesley, 1989.)

Sleep is vitally important to maintaining a healthy body—especially the immune system (and what impacts the immune system impacts the brain). Researchers at UCLA have found that loss of sleep, even for a few hours during the night, can prompt a person’s immune system to turn against healthy tissue and organs. (Loss Of Sleep, Even For A Single Night, Increases Inflammation In The Body. ScienceDaily, September 2008.)

Refer to Sleep and the Brain for additional information.

The spleen can be thought of as the brain of the immune system. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p 182-184. NY: Scribner, 1997.)

131 studies of healers worldwide by Dr. Daniel Benor: Healing appears to be influenced by multiple factors—so many, in fact, that it is virtually impossible to establish a repeatable experiment in which all would occur in the same combination more than once. (Christman, Linda. Internet article on Energy Medicine. www.sbmyss.sgm)

Symptoms can be observed in the body related to state of mind. Study: individuals were more likely to develop symptoms of illness after exposure to a cold virus (e.g., 15% higher) if they had experienced stressful life events during the prior 12 months. (Gilbert, Gary, MD. Is a Merry Heart like a Placebo? p 36-43. WA: Spectrum, Vol 26, No. 4, January 1998.)

Emotional and physical stress can deplete the immune system. The greatest stress is generated by denying the authentic self (e.g., life energy is diverted; compromised mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically). (McGraw, Phillip C., PhD. Self Matters. p 17-18, 33-34. NY: Simon & Schuster Source, 2001.)

Study of students who reported high life stresses: They showed elevated levels of epinephrine and lowered levels of salivary IgA; and reported more frequent and more severe illnesses than other individuals. (Ornstein, Robert, PhD and David Sobel. The Healing Brain. p 154-156. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1987.)

Studies: Numbers of T-helper cells decreased during stress that lasted several days to a month) even more than stress that lasted longer than a month. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 70-71. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Chronic stress has been linked to almost every major illness that is acquired by human beings. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 151-152. CA: Mountain of Love / Elite Books, 2005.)

About 80% of physician office visits are from patients who are experiencing stress (e.g., unresolved issues of anger and fear). Perhaps as much as 85% of illness and disease is not only associated with stress but also is causally linked. (Seaward, Brian Luke. Achieving the Mind-Body-Spirit Connection: A Stress Management Workbook. Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc, 2004.)

Refer to Stress and the Brain for additional information.

Images and scripts from moving images can actually become part of one’s brain (e.g., physically materialized), changing its biological structure and impacting one’s health. (Benson, Herbert, MD., with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 78-80. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

Refer to Television – Videos for additional information.

Practitioners of therapeutic touch report they can sense subtle energies moving through the bodies of their patients. The energy vibrations may result from ligands binding with receptor molecules in the body. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p 224-225. NY: Scribner, 1997.)

Therapeutic touch may trigger “remembered wellness,” (e.g., doctor holding patient’s hand as anesthetic is administered prior to surgery). (Benson, Herbert, MD., with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 182-183. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

The thoughts you think on a daily basis and the behaviors you exhibit powerfully impact your brain chemistry. They affect every cell in your body. Negativity can lower immune system function. Changing your behavior can change brain patterns. Avoid accepting every thought that comes into your mind. Take control of your thoughts. (Amen, Daniel G., MD. Change Your Brain Change Your Life. p 97-99, 171-172. NY: Times Books, 1998.)

Your thoughts and feelings (mental diet) are at least equally important to proper nutrition. Your inner thoughts, feelings, and impressions directly impact your energy level. (Childre, Doc and Howard Martin. The HeartMath Solution. p 89. CA: Harper SF, 1999.)

The thymus gland shrinks with aging (e.g., 75% of function is gone by age 20, and the rest usually by age 60). (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 34. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.

Motherly touch can reduce cortisol levels, a hormone that can suppress immune system function. Cites studies related to babies/infants who are cuddled versus not cuddled. (Fisher, Helen, PhD. The First Sex. p 86. NY: Random House, 1999.)

Human leukocytic antigens (HLA), receptors on cell surfaces, reflect your identity. The closer your set of HLA self-receptors is to those of the cells in a transplanted organ, the less aggressive will be the rejection reaction by your immune system. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 189-190. CA: Mountain of Love / Elite Books, 2005.)

The state of one’s emotions can influence whether or not the person develops a viral infection. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p 188-190. NY: Scribner, 1997.)

Studies: The effects of imagery on heart rate, blood pressure, blood flow, electrodermal activity, and immune response have all been confirmed in experiments. (Graham, Helen. Discover Color Therapy. p 45-46. CA: Ulysses Press, 1998.)

Studies of white blood cells separated from the rest of the body: there is a reaction in the separated cells (when the donor experiences specific emotions such as anger or fear) even if miles apart. (Sylvia, Claire, with William Novak. A Change of Heart. p 224-226. NY: Little, Brown and Company, 1997.)

Donor’s in vitro oral leukocytes (white blood cells taken from the person’s mouth) registered electrical changes based on the emotions the donor was exhibiting, up to 12 kilometers between the test tube of leukocytes and the donor. The demonstrated biocommunication may represent a signal that is a new form of communication or a new type of energy. (Reproduced from The International Journal of Biosocial Research Publication Office, P O Box 1174, Tacoma, WA, 98401-1174 USA. Source.)

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