ProHealth health Vitamin and Natural Supplement Store and Health
Home  |  Log In  |  My Account  |  View Cart  View Your ProHealth Vitamin and Supplement Shopping Cart
800-366-6056  |  Contact Us  |  Help
Facebook Google Plus
Fibromyalgia  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & M.E.  Lyme Disease  Natural Wellness  Supplement News  Forums  Our Story
Store     Brands   |   A-Z Index   |   Best Sellers   |   New Products   |   Deals & Specials   |   Under $10   |   SmartSavings Club

Trending News

Prevent Or Reverse Diabetes: An Amazing Herbal Intervention

Exercise and Vitamin D Better Together for Heart Health

VIDEO: Essential Oils for Weight Loss

Can Ginkgo Give Your Brain a Boost?

Can Valerian Root Help You Sleep Better?

Fighting Statin-Induced Diabetes with CoQ10

Eight servings of veggies a day is clearly best for the heart

The Many Wonders of Calming Sandalwood Oil

Curcumin — A Novel Treatment Alternative for Depression

How Glycation Accelerates Aging

 
Print Page
Email Article

New Study Finds Unusual Way to Enhance the Immune System

  [ 15 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
www.ProHealth.com • November 21, 2000


Next time you feel a little under the weather, try a novel way to boost your immune system - play contract bridge. According to a preliminary study, contract bridge players have increased numbers of immune cells after a game of bridge.

According to UC Berkeley biologist, Marian Cleeves Diamond, “these data, though preliminary, show that brain activity affects the immune system and support the possibility of us learning to voluntarily control the level of white blood cells to help combat disease and other illnesses."

Based on her previous work, and that of others, Diamond interprets the findings as strong evidence that an area of the brain involved in playing bridge stimulates the immune system, in particular the thymus gland that produces white blood cells called T cells, or T lymphocytes. The finding was revealed at a presentation given to the Society for Neuroscience.

If her study is borne out, this would be the first time a specific area of the cortex - in this case, part of the frontal lobe of the brain - has been linked with the immune system. "People are aware that voluntary activities like positive thinking and prayer work to keep us healthy, but no one has had a mechanism," said Diamond

The experiment is the culmination of more than 15 years of work on rat and mouse brains by Diamond and her colleagues, in search of a cortical area connected to the immune system. It's also a poignant tribute to her sister, who died of the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus when Diamond was 19

"Someday, I thought, I will find something that correlates with what killed her," said Diamond, 73. "But I'm a neuroscientist, not an immunologist, so I had to touch the immune system through the brain."

Diamond chose to study bridge players from an Orinda, California, women's bridge club because bridge is a game likely to stimulate an area of the brain - the dorsolateral cortex - that she suspected influences the immune system. She selected women as subjects because most of her laboratory experiments have involved immune compromised female mice.

Diamond and graduate student Jean Weidner divided the 12 women, all in their 70s and 80s, into three groups, and had each group play a one-and-a-half hour bridge set. Weidner, a former phlebotomist, drew blood samples before and after the sets, and delivered them to immunology research associates Peter Schow and Stan Grell to measure the numbers of immune cells.
Only the levels of CD-4 positive T cells changed in the 12 subjects. In two of the groups, levels increased significantly. In the third group, T cell levels increased only slightly, not enough to be statistically significant.

T cells are white blood cells produced by the thymus gland and sent out to patrol the body in search of viruses and other invaders. T cells that sport a surface marker called CD-4 are "helper" cells that regulate the activity of antibody-producing B cells and of other T cells.

In 1985, Diamond and her students first focused on the dorsolateral cortex - a brain area behind the forehead and a little to the side - after comparing the brains of normal mice with immune deficient mice, called nude mice. The only brain difference they could measure was in the dorsolateral cortex, which was thinner in nude mice on both the right and left sides of the brain. The cortex, the outer layer of the brain, deals with higher order functions; the dorsolateral cortex is involved with such things as working memory, planning ahead and initiative.

Because nude mice have deficiencies in their thymus gland, in the early 1990s Diamond and then doctoral student Gary Gaufo, who has since obtained his PhD, transplanted normal mouse thymus glands into immune compromised mice. Surprisingly, all of the mice developed normal levels of T cells and also showed thickening of the dorsolateral cortex.

Given the apparent connection between the thymus gland - the source of T cells - and the dorsolateral cortex, she looked around for a way to test the connection in humans. She discovered a 1990 paper by a team of researchers from the National Institute of Mental Health reporting that the dorsolateral cortex is stimulated by a card sorting task used for psychiatric analysis. The authors had used a PET scanner to determine the parts of the brain that were active during the task, comparing schizophrenics with normal subjects.

While that task, the so-called Wisconsin Card Sorting Task, is suitable for psychiatric tests, she decided that contract bridge would be a perfect substitute to use with normal subjects.
"Contract bridge was ideal for what we were after," she said. "It is the closest activity to a challenging card sorting task that also contains multiple factors that should stimulate the dorsolateral cortex. Bridge players plan ahead, they use working memory, they deal with sequencing, initiation and numerous other higher order functions with which the dorsolateal cortex is involved."

Luckily, her old college roommate, Marian Everett, was a member of a golfing and bridge club in Orinda, so Diamond approached her about finding a group of 12 players. "They were so willing to be part of the experiment," Diamond said, that she had no problem getting enough volunteers.

In the future, as a possible follow-up study, Diamond suggests using a functional nuclear magnetic resonance machine to see if the dorsolateral cortex actually does show greater activity during bridge playing than during rest.

Because the brain's cortex is under voluntary control, she hopes her findings lead to ways to educate the brain to improve health. "If we could find out how to regulate our immune system voluntarily through the brain's cortex, I would feel extremely happy," Diamond said.



Post a Comment

Featured Products From the ProHealth Store
Energy NADH™ 12.5mg Ultra EPA  - Fish Oil Vitamin D3 Extreme™

Looking for Vitamins, Herbs and Supplements?
Search the ProHealth Store for Hundreds of Natural Health Products


Article Comments



Be the first to comment on this article!

Post a Comment


 
NAD+ Ignite with Niagen

Featured Products

Energy NADH™ 12.5mg Energy NADH™ 12.5mg
Improve Energy & Cognitive Function
Olive Leaf Extract (15% Oleuropein) Olive Leaf Extract (15% Oleuropein)
Potent Immune Support and Antioxidant Protection
Vitamin D3 Extreme™ Vitamin D3 Extreme™
50,000 IU Vitamin D3 - Prescription Strength
Ultra EPA  - Fish Oil Ultra EPA - Fish Oil
Ultra concentrated source of essential fish oils
FibroSleep™ FibroSleep™
The All-in-One Natural Sleep Aid

Natural Remedies

Vitamin E: Super Antioxidant We Only Thought We Knew Vitamin E: Super Antioxidant We Only Thought We Knew
Curcumin - a Golden Gift of Nature with Benefits Still Untold Curcumin - a Golden Gift of Nature with Benefits Still Untold
Optimize Your Immune System Naturally: Thymic Protein A Optimize Your Immune System Naturally: Thymic Protein A
Relief for Dry, Itchy Skin Caused by Fibromyalgia Relief for Dry, Itchy Skin Caused by Fibromyalgia
Ubiquinol - A More Advanced Form of the Energy Producing Nutrient CoQ-10 Ubiquinol - A More Advanced Form of the Energy Producing Nutrient CoQ-10

CONTACT US
ProHealth, Inc.
555 Maple Ave
Carpinteria, CA 93013
(800) 366-6056  |  Email

· Become a Wholesaler
· Vendor Inquiries
· Affiliate Program
SHOP WITH CONFIDENCE
Credit Card Processing
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTERS
Get the latest news about Fibromyalgia, M.E/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme Disease and Natural Wellness

CONNECT WITH US ProHealth on Facebook  ProHealth on Twitter  ProHealth on Pinterest  ProHealth on Google Plus

© 2017 ProHealth, Inc. All rights reserved. Pain Tracker App  |  Store  |  Customer Service  |  Guarantee  |  Privacy  |  Contact Us  |  Library  |  RSS  |  Site Map