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!)
Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov.
In the study, young adults were asked to watch a 10-minute slideshow 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 the 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.
Next time the that cold bug starts making its way around your friends and family members, you may want to consider flipping through some pictures of sick people along with your preventive chicken soup and orange juice ritual. It couldn’t hurt.
The Psychological Immune System [Psychology Today]