Smile Away the Flu

May 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Health

fluShould you just forget the flu vaccine?

University of Wisconsin-Madison neurologists have found a direct link between the body’s immune response and a positive attitude.

A group of 52 people volunteered to be vaccinated against the flu.

But before administering the flu vaccinations, neuroscientist Richard Davidson and his colleagues scanned the brain activity of the subjects as they recalled a vividly happy memory, and again as they thought of another memory that made them feel sad or angry.

Your brain’s prefrontal cortex regulates your emotional responses. The right side of the prefrontal cortex (under your right temple) registers negative emotions, and the left regulates positive emotions.

The researchers tracked the volunteers’ antibody counts over the next six months. They found that six months after being vaccinated, the happier subjects (those with more activity in the left prefrontal lobe) had more antibodies in their system. The less positive volunteers (those with more activity in their right lobe) had weaker immune responses.

The conclusion was that having a happy, positive attitude actually strengthens your immune system. So if you want to strengthen your immune system, focus your mind on the positive things in your life.

And smile away the flu!

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posted by Jill Ammon-Wexler
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