Thinking away immune dysfunction
The children's novel "Matilda" by Roald Dahl is about a precocious girl ignored by her parents and bullied by a tyrannical school principal. Matilda feels hopeless, but soon learns she possesses an unusual talent -- telekinesis. She can move objects with her mind, so she figures out how to beat the bad guys. "Matilda" is a story about mind over matter.
Though it's unlikely you can move objects with your thoughts, your brain can influence the health of your immune system and help tamp down symptoms associated with everything from depression and anxiety to heart disease and some cancers.
A new study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, looked at 56 randomized clinical trials to identify the effects of different types of "psychosocial interventions" on physical and mental health. The researchers found cognitive-behavioral therapy -- a solutions-based talk therapy that helps a person change dysfunctional emotions and behaviors -- was most effective for improving immune system function, and benefits persisted for at least six months following treatment. The researchers say it accomplishes this by causing a decrease in the load of pro-inflammatory cytokines or markers and by increasing immune cell counts.
The study also points out that an estimated 50% of all deaths worldwide are attributable to inflammation-related diseases, including obesity and depression. So if you're struggling with your mental or physical health, you may want to add a round of short-term CBT therapy to your treatment mix. You may find by thinking away immune dysfunction, you also ease negative mental and/or physical symptoms.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.
(c)2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.(c) 2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.