By Guest Nicole
Your sniffles may feel worse if you're lonely.
A study published Thursday in Health Psychology found that among people who fell ill after being exposed to a cold virus, those who were lonely were more likely to report severe runny nose, sneezing, sore throat and other symptoms. That adds to the evidence linking loneliness to more serious health problems including heart disease and early death.
There's been much less research on whether loneliness is correlated with common, acute, short-term illnesses like colds, says Angie LeRoy, an author of the study and a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at the University of Houston who is also affiliated with Rice University.
To conduct the experiment, LeRoy and her fellow researchers recruited people 18 to 55 years old who agreed to undergo some psychological screening tests, to be exposed to the common cold virus via nose drops and then to be quarantined in a hotel for five days. (Participants were also paid $1,060, which may explain why anyone agreed to do it.)
At the beginning of the study, the 159 participants were scored on a scale indicating their level of loneliness and another one indicating their level of social isolation, as measured by the size and diversity of their social networks. Those who were lonely were no more likely to fall ill with a cold after they were exposed to the virus. But, among those who did become ill, those who were lonely were almost 39 percent more likely to report higher-severity symptoms than those who were less lonely, says LeRoy.
The researchers purposely measured subjective reports of symptoms, since whether someone is feeling well is more likely to be the reason they would stay home from work or curtail normal activities than more objective symptoms like, um, the amount of mucus production.
"Even something as simple as the common cold can be affected by how you're feeling beforehand," LeRoy says. The reason isn't clear, and she didn't want to speculate, but other research on loneliness has suggested multiple mechanisms, including effects on the immune system and behavioral factors.
The study has some limitations. The researchers controlled for a host of variables, including age, marital status and depressive symptoms, but they couldn't control for everything. Some other factor, such as sleep quality or quantity, might have affected how people experienced cold symptoms. And the psychological assessment was conducted only at the beginning of the study, so researchers don't know whether the sense of loneliness fluctuated during the course of the cold and how that might relate to symptoms.
There's also a difference between subjective indicators such as loneliness and objective ones like number of contacts or relationships. Although LeRoy found a link between loneliness and cold symptom severity, the size and diversity of a person's social network did not predict more severe cold symptoms.
"You can be lonely and not isolated, and vice versa," says Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, who wasn't involved with this study. She was an author of a 2015 analysis of existing research that found both types of indicators were significant predictors of early death, and neither was more predictive than the other. Most studies only measured one or the other, however.
She says it's important that researchers figure out the proper target as people in the field work to translate the evidence into some kind of intervention that could help people live healthier and longer lives. "If you're trying to decrease loneliness, simply increasing social contacts may not help," says Holt-Lunstad. The quality of relationships is important, she says.
LeRoy says that, while it's not yet clear how to intervene to help people who are lonely, the health care field should be assessing psychological symptoms as well as physical ones.
LeRoy says she'd like to study older adults, who are more likely to be lonely, and are also more susceptible to the common cold.
Katherine Hobson is a freelance health and science writer based in Brooklyn, N.Y. She's on Twitter: @katherinehobson.
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By Guest Nicole
The verdict is out on flu shots. Many medical experts now agree it is more important to protect yourself and your family from the flu vaccine than the flu itself.
Every year the pharmaceutical industry, medical experts and the mainstream media work hard to convince us to get vaccinated against the flu.
But we’re not being told the whole story.
What we don’t hear, are cases about the adverse reactions or about the toxic chemicals being injected into us.
11 reasons why flu shots are more dangerous than the flu itself.
1. The flu shot actually makes you sick to begin with
Have you ever noticed how vaccinated children get sick almost immediately following a vaccination? This is because the flu virus is introduced into their bodies. So rather than immunize, the flu shot actually only sensitizes the body against the virus. And the fact that it causes individuals to get ill following a shot indicates immuno-suppression (i.e. lowering of the immunity).
2. Flu vaccines contain other dangerous ingredients such as mercury
The pharmaceutical industry, medical experts and the mainstream media are candid in telling us that flu vaccines contain strains of the flu virus. What they are less likely to reveal though is the long list of other ingredients that come with the vaccine. It is now a known fact that flu vaccines contain mercury, a heavy metal known to be hazardous for human health. Mercury toxicity can cause depression, memory loss, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory problems, ADD, oral health problems, digestive imbalances and other serious health issues.
3. The flu shot can cause Alzheimer’s disease
Evidence now suggests that flu vaccines can cause Alzheimer’s disease. Research conducted by Dr. Hugh Fudenberg, a leading immunogeneticist, shows that those who consistently get the flu vaccine increase their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 10 fold. He believes this is due to the toxic combination of aluminum and mercury in the vaccine. Additionally, introducing the flu virus to an elderly person (who with age will naturally have a weaker immune system) will only increase the chances of that individual becoming susceptible to more serious illness.
4. The very people pushing flu vaccinations are making billions of dollars each year
In August 1999, the Committee on Government Reform initiated an investigation into Federal vaccine policy. This investigation focused on possible conflicts of interest on the part of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The investigation concluded that many individuals serving on two key advisory committees had financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture vaccines. Often, these individuals were granted waivers to fully participate in the discussions that led to recommendations on vaccine licensing and adding vaccines to the Childhood Immunization Schedule. This in itself creates serious doubt as to how effective flu vaccines really are.
5. Lack of real evidence that young children even benefit from flu shots
51 studies involving 260,000 children age 6 to 23 months established no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo. Additionally, flu shots only protect against certain strains of the virus meaning that you can still easily get the flu if you come into contact with a different strain of virus.
6. Makes you more susceptible to pneumonia and other contagious diseases
For someone with an already suppressed immune system, injecting strains of the flu virus can have devastating consequences. If your body is already working to fight off a virus or simply operating with low immunity, a vaccine injection could put your body in serious danger of contracting influenza with stronger symptoms, or even worse pneumonia and other contagious diseases.
7. Vascular disorders
Medical research shows flu shots are associated with an increased risk of vascular inflammation. Symptoms include fever, jaw pain, muscle aches, pain and stiffness in the neck, upper arms, shoulder and hips and headache.
8. Children under the age of 1 are at risk
Children under 1 years of age are highly vulnerable to a neurotoxic breach of the delicate nerve center surrounding the brain and central nervous system. The first round of the flu vaccine is administered at age 6 months. A child under the age of 1 lacks sufficient protection to guard against premature damage to the blood barrier in the brain.
9. Increased risk of narcolepsy
There have been dozens of reported cases of children in 12 different countries who have developed narcolepsy (a chronic sleep disorder) after receiving the flu vaccine. The study, which took place between October 2009 and the December 2011, compared 3.3 million vaccinated Swedes with 2.5 million who were not vaccinated. The risk was found to be highest among the youngest people who took the vaccines. For those under the age of 21, the risk of contracting narcolepsy was three times higher.
10. Weakens immunological responses
There have been literally thousands of medical journal articles published that show injecting vaccines can lead to harmful immunological responses and a host of other infections. Moreover, weak immunological responses only decrease a person’s ability to fight the diseases that the vaccine was supposed to protect against in the first place.
11. Serious neurological disorders
Evidence now suggests that ingredients in flu vaccinations can actually cause serious neurological disorders. In 1976 a significant number of those who received the flu vaccine acquired Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), a disorder characterized by permanent nerve damage and even paralysis. Flu vaccines can contain many harmful materials including detergent, mercury, formaldehyde, and strains of live flu virus.
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