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Mental sweat

Does mental exercise stimulate the immune system?
 
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Listening half asleep to an unidentifiable radio programme, I heard this [reconstructed] item, “.. . so he persuaded the members of a contract bridge club to be his subjects for a lengthy double-blind research programme, comparing them with carefully matched non-players. <br He wanted to test his hypothesis that improving the quality, and increasing the quantity, of mental activity, is directly connected with similar changes in the immune system. He concluded there is strong evidence that this does happen.
I couldn’t find anything about this research on the Web, and would be glad to hear from anyone who does know about it - because I think it applies to me.
In 1985 my daughter bullied me into computers after I’d survived severe pesticide poisoning. I was 70. Since then I have survived equally severe cancer. By the rule-books I shouldn’t be here. Catch 22 applies of course.
Am I mentally fit because I’m physically fit, or am I physically fit because I’m mentally fit? Or does each state continuously feed the other like a hand drawing a hand? I increasingly suspect this will eventually be proven as correct. [Especially since discovering the Halfbakery.]
In the meantime I’d like to learn more about this contract bridge research. Note: I gathered the impression there was no propaganda involved for the game of bridge. It was chosen for its distinctness as a group.
rayfo, Nov 10 2000

bottomquark http://bottomquark....1639242&mode=thread
Has, among other things, a link to an article on this subject. [centauri, Nov 10 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Yes http://www.solnet.net/hd/
Cause celebré [reensure, Nov 10 2000]

[link]






       The link between physical and emotional well-being is pretty well-established. A link between emotional and mental well-being is not as studied, as far as I know, but is far from counterintuitive, and, well, transitive property and all that. Though not so famous a search ninja as some, I'll see what I can find when I get the chance.   

       (Off-topic: you're 85? I thought I was one of the Halfbakery's chronological elders because I can remember the administration of Gerald Ford.)
Uncle Nutsy, Nov 10 2000
  

       I have heard that people with higher education live longer on average, but I was prepared to pin this on money. The family has enough money to pay for a lot of education as well as proper food and medical care. The educated person makes more money and can afford the same things himself, as well as make rational decisions about safe pastimes and occupations.
centauri, Nov 10 2000
  

       On the flip side, too much mental exercise can weaken not only the immune system but other systems as well- such as the adrenal system.   

       Having worked in Internet tech support for a number of years, I can attest to the fact that the constant problem solving and handholding required of most people in this business burn out within 2 years or so. Sometimes a tech will just become fed up and quit, but many actually suffer symptoms of mild to extreme burnout. Very often this is also accompanied by skewed levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain as well, a reult of the high -stress environment that is tech support.   

       Up to a point, mental activity indeed does strengthen the immune system. However, once a certain stress threshold is reached (which is different for every individual), increasing mental activity actually leads to a degradation in both physical and mental health.
BigThor, Nov 14 2000
  

       The Catch-22 thing is a danger. It seems like when 100-year-old guys are interviewed and asked what the secret is of living to such a ripe old age, they always reply that they've been smoking two packets a day since they were 14 and only eat soft-boiled eggs. The impliction is that there's a causal link whereas in fact the remarkable thing is that they've survived so long despite smoking two packets a day, etc.
hippo, Nov 15 2000
  
      
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