Cheer Up For Your Flu Shots
If you’re in a good mood when you have your flu shot, chances are it will work better than it would if you were down in the dumps. Researchers at the UK’s University of Nottingham wanted to know if behavioral and psychological factors influence how well flu shots work in a group of seniors, age 65 to 85. The team noted that flu shots are estimated to be effective in only 17 to 53 percent of older adults, compared to 70 to 90 percent among younger people. To investigate possible causes of this difference the researchers assessed negative mood, positive mood, physical activity, diet and sleep in the participants, starting two weeks prior to their flu shots and continuing for four weeks afterward. When they measured the amount of influenza antibody in the 138 test subjects, they learned that of all the factors assessed, only a good mood was linked to producing higher levels of antibodies.
Kavita Vedhara et al, “Positive mood on the day of influenza vaccination predicts vaccine effectiveness: A prospective observational cohort study.” Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, September 17, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2017.09.008
Also in this week’s bulletin: