The Grand Canyons

Your Disposition Can Affect Your Ability to Fight Disease

Posted In Talking Points - By The Grand Canyons on Tuesday, May 9th, 2017 With No Comments »

Happy WomanIf you are an outgoing, generally happy person, chances are, you may be able to resist diseases better than someone who’s a notorious Debbie downer.

While professionals from reputable medical institutions such as can give you professional advice on how you can keep a healthy immune system, scientists say your personality can also affect your overall health. In a study published in the Official Journal of the International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology, researchers led by Kavita Vadhara looked into different personality traits and their relationship with biological immune responses – that is, the body’s ability to deal with threats to the immune system.

Observing Inflammation

The researchers asked 121 healthy respondents to complete personality questionnaires that will assess extroversion and introversion (how sociable a person is), conscientiousness (how cautious a person is and how carefully he/she plans), and neuroticism (a person’s tendency to think or feel negatively), among other traits. They also took blood samples to investigate the activity of the genes responsible for an inflammatory immune response, as well as the genes involved in protecting the body against viruses.

The body’s immune system responds to the presence of health threats such as infection or injury through inflammation. This action also helps the body repel any infection as well as expedite the recovery process.

Happiness Is Health

Comparing the activity of the inflammatory immune response genes and the personalities of the respondents, Vadhara discovered a link between extroversion and the increased expression of pro-inflammatory genes. Conscientiousness, meanwhile, had the opposite effect. The results suggest that extroverted people have a greater ability to deal with injury and infection.

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Before you rejoice that your outgoing personality can give you an advantage when warding off diseases, researchers reminded people that higher levels of inflammation also meant a greater likelihood of developing auto-immune diseases. The genes that the researchers focused on, moreover, represented only a tiny portion of those that are vital to the body’s immune response. They say it is also possible that those who are introverted and highly conscientious might be stronger in other areas of immune response.