A study at the University of British Columbia showed that looking at pictures of sick and injured people seemed to boost the human immune system ... which means that, pretty soon, parents may be asking little Billy if he's taken his daily dose of schadenfreude!
This is something I've suspected all along, since watching people get smacked in the face has always made me feel better, happier, and more energetic.
I FEEL BETTER ALREADY
Hardly! Participants in the study were exposed to ten minute slideshows of images of diseased people and other "unpleasantnesses", with the science-types measuring something at some point along the way.
The participants gave blood samples both before and after each slideshow. Next the researchers exposed these blood samples to a bacterial infection, and measured the extent to which white blood cells produced interleukin-6 (IL-6). IL-6 is a proinflammatory cytokine that white blood cells make when they detect microbial intruders. More IL-6 indicates a more aggressive immune response to infection. So, by measuring IL-6 before and after the slide show, the researchers were able to determine whether seeing pictures of disease-y people actually stimulated the immune system to fight infection more aggressively. And it did.
This elegantly explains how I made it through a snowy Ohio winter without getting sick - and totally justifies the time I spent laughing at all the people with flu vaccines that backfired horribly!
Now, take a look at the picture below ...
I LOOK SICK WHEN I PLAY WITH THE CONTRAST
... now, feel better, and don't say I never did anything to help the little people.