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The CO2-people connection.

Taking care of immunity

Tending to a relative with Alzheimer's disease is not just psychologically stressful--over the long run, say researchers at Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, it can undermine a caregiver's immune responses.

Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser and her colleagues compared 11 men and 23 women caring for family members with Alzheimer's disease with controls matched for age, sex and education. An average of more than five years had passed since the caregivers had noticed the first symptoms of the disease. Subjects caring for an Alzheimer victim reported more distress and poorer mental health than individuals with no such responsibilities. Caregivers, whose average age was 59 years, also had indications of poor immune function: lower percentages of T lymphocytes and helper T lymphocytes than controls, as well as a lower ratio of antibody-stimulating cells to antibody-suppressing cells. In addition, there was evidence of poorer immune system control of the latent Epstein-Barr virus among caregivers. There were, however, no group differences in number of physician visits or sick days in the prior six months.

The most important health consequences of the observed immune changes may occur among older adults who already have age-related drops in immune function, say the researchers. They hope to test this suggestion with long-term studies of middle-aged and elderly caregivers.
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Title Annotation:rate of increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide found to match growth of world's population for last 25 years
Publication:Science News
Date:Sep 12, 1987
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