Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Moderate Aggression May Lead To Stronger Immune Systems

Date:
August 30, 2000
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Men who are moderately aggressive have stronger immune systems, according to new study by a team of researchers from Penn State and the University of Nebraska.

University Park, Pa. -- Men who are moderately aggressive have stronger immune systems, according to new study by a team of researchers from Penn State and the University of Nebraska.

"We have observed this relationship in animal studies but this is the first time that a connection has been made between aggression and immunity in humans," according to Douglas Granger, associate professor of biobehavioral health in Penn State's College of Health and Human Development.

Granger, Alan Booth, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State, and David R. Johnson, professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska, published their findings in "Human Aggression and Enumerative Measures of Immunity," in the current issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, the professional journal for the American Psychosomatic Society.

"Our study suggests that differences in people's aggressive behavior influences how their immune systems are prepared to deal with infections, viruses and bacteria," says Booth.

Men who have been in occasional fights or been in trouble with the law, either as an adult or youth, have immune systems that may be ready to marshal a more rapid and intense response to pathogens associated with disease or injury than do men who are seldom aggressive, according to the researchers. "However, higher levels of aggression do not convey additional immune benefits," says Booth.

The researchers studied a sample of 4,415 men aged 30 to 48 years who were interviewed to determine their level of aggressive behavior. The subjects then underwent medical examination to determine their state of health. The researchers also took blood samples from each subject. Those samples were then analyzed for different types of white blood cells or lymphocytes.

"White blood cells are major players in the body's immune system," explains Granger. Out of eight enumerative indicators of immune activity studied, two specialized types of lymphocytes (CD4 cells and B cells) that determine the initiation, magnitude, and duration of specific cellular immune responses were present in high concentrations in the circulation of moderately aggressive men. The activity of these particular lymphocytes, which includes antibody production and secretion of intercellular signals that turn the immune response on or off has considerable value for increasing the chances of survival in a pathologically challenging environment, says Granger.

According to the study, individuals who reported engaging in two aggressive acts were 30 percent more likely to be in the top quartile of CD4 cell numbers than those reporting no aggressive acts, after taking into account current health risks and problems that might be stimulating the immune system. Men reporting five aggressive acts were seven percent more likely to be in the top quartile than those reporting three aggressive acts. Those with eight aggressive acts were only four percent more likely to be in that category than those reporting six aggressive acts. Increases in aggressive behavior did not convey correspondingly higher odds of being in the top quartile. A parallel pattern was observed for B lymphocytes.

Men reported on 12 different acts of aggression ranging all the way from playing hooky twice a year or more to fights involving weapons. Twenty-two percent reported no aggressive acts. Thirty-nine percent reported, one to two aggressive acts, 27 percent indicated three to five, and 12 percent recorded six or more aggressive acts.

"The strength of the finding is that we controlled for all types of factors that could impact the subjects' immune systems, such as whether the subjects smoked or consumed alcohol, their level of health and their testosterone scores," says Booth. "While testosterone was associated with aggressive behavior, it was not the hormone that accounted for the higher immune cells found among aggressive men."

The researchers explain that aggressiveness was seen throughout history as being vital for gaining access to food, protecting the young, battling predators, and fighting other communities over resources and territory. Engaging in aggressive behavior, however, has a high likelihood of leading to trauma, wounds, and exposure to new diseases.

Foraging, hunting, and war may require travel far from home. Isolated from nursing care and the protection of the home community, individuals benefit if their immune system more effectively recognizes and mobilizes its components to eliminate pathogens, says Booth. In addition, individuals benefit if their immune system promotes efficient recovery from disease, facilitates repair of tissue damage wounds, and records immunologic history to be prepared to respond more efficiently if subsequent reexposure occurs.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Moderate Aggression May Lead To Stronger Immune Systems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 August 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000830074454.htm>.
Penn State. (2000, August 30). Moderate Aggression May Lead To Stronger Immune Systems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000830074454.htm
Penn State. "Moderate Aggression May Lead To Stronger Immune Systems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000830074454.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
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