Whatever the likelihood of an outbreak of avian flu
this winter, the more familiar ‘flu is a regular visitor
among the British population at this time of year, responsible for
anywhere between 200 and 30,000 deaths annually, and the health
authorities continues to stress the importance of the flu jab for
the over 65’s.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham have completed a
study into whether psychological factors have an impact on
people’s immune response to the flu vaccine, which gives a
strong indication of how well their immune system will protect them
from ‘flu itself.
Carried out by the University of Birmingham’s School of
Sport and Exercise Sciences the study measured the antibody
response to the flu vaccine through taking blood samples from 184
people over the age of 65.
They also completed a questionnaire to see whether there was a
correlation between immune response and people’s
psychological state. There were two clear findings: people
who had experienced a bereavement in the previous year showed a low
immune response, and people who described themselves as happily
married showed a high level of immune response, meaning that they
were better equipped to fight flu.
Close up flu leaflets
Flu jab syringe
External shots Birmingham City Centre
Pedestrians in Birmingham City Centre
Interview with Dr Anna Phillips, School of Sport and Exercise
Scienxes, University of Birmingham.
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