Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Natural Killer Cells Need A Good Night's Sleep

Date:
January 26, 1998
Source:
Center For The Advancement Of Health
Summary:
Disrupted sleep may be weakening the immune systems of elderly widows and widowers, suggest new findings by researchers at the UPMC Health Systems (UPMC) Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh.

Disrupted sleep may be weakening the immune systems of elderly widows and widowers, new findings suggest.

Researchers at the UPMC Health Systems (UPMC) Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh studied 29 patients aged 40 to 78 who were seeking treatment for bereavement-related depression.

Each patient spent three nights in a sleep lab as part of a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the treatment of bereavement-related depression between 1995 and 1996. None of the subjects had any infectious illnesses at the time and all were experiencing their first lifetime episode of major depression.

Analysis of their blood samples showed that those whose sleep had been disrupted had decreased levels of natural killer cells (NKCs), which take their name from the way they help destroy illness-causing cells. A decreased NKC count indicates a weakened immune system and a body more vulnerable to illness.

The study, published in the January-February issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, "provides the first direct evidence that...sleep disruptions are associated with the stress-immune relationship in humans," the researchers write. "Stress-related intrusive thoughts and avoidance behaviors were associated with greater time spent awake during the first sleep cycle which, in turn, was associated with lower numbers of circulating NKCs."

The findings prove that maintaining good sleep is important for the elderly to maintain health, according to the primary author, Martica Hall, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical College's Department of Psychiatry. She said the findings show the importance of developing interventions that reduce illnesses caused by stress-related sleep disruptions.

Although sleep disruptions associated with bereavement or other stressful life events may play an important role in illness susceptibility, Hall said, it is not yet known whether doctors can improve patients' health by improving their sleep.

"We know that it is better to treat the underlying problem, bereavement-related depression, than to simply treat the symptom, disturbed sleep, with a sleeping pill," Hall said. "The potential health benefits of treating bereavement-related depression, including its sleep disruptions, is one of the research avenues we are now following."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Center For The Advancement Of Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Center For The Advancement Of Health. "Natural Killer Cells Need A Good Night's Sleep." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 January 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/01/980126060431.htm>.
Center For The Advancement Of Health. (1998, January 26). Natural Killer Cells Need A Good Night's Sleep. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/01/980126060431.htm
Center For The Advancement Of Health. "Natural Killer Cells Need A Good Night's Sleep." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/01/980126060431.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins