Looking at Sick People Gives Your Immune System a Boost

Sick Person

Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov (CC)

Start here. Erica Ho writes on Lifehacker:

According to a University of British Columbia study, looking at sick people can boost your immune system. (Hanging around them does not.) That means you’re better equipped to fight a cold after merely looking at the picture in this post. (You’re welcome!)

In the study, young adults were asked to watch a 10-minute slide show containing a series of unpleasant photographs. Some pictures included people who looked obviously ill in some way.

The subjects’ blood samples were then tested for levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a substance produced by the immune system that indicates your immune system is ramping up to more aggressively fight infection.

As a control, pictures of people brandishing guns were also used on some participants—and they barely resulted in a significant increase in IL-6 production, signifying that IL-6 production is not simply a reaction to stress.

Image via Flickr (Creative Commons)

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