This HND piece takes another look at stress, which we focused on about three years ago. This time we cite a key paper from 1991. Although it was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, it never got the attention it deserved.
With a provocative title like "Psychological Stress and Susceptibility to the Common Cold," you'd think ii would have caused more of a stir. That paper--and subsequent work from Sheldon Cohen, Ph.D., of Carnegie-Mellon University--showed that psychological stress was associated in a dose-response manner with an increased risk of acute infectious respiratory illness, and this risk was attributable to increased rates of infection rather than to an increased frequency of symptoms after infection.
Of course, the effect of stress on illness was recognized decades earlier, by Sir William Osler, considered the father of modern medicine.
The point here is that stress can be an important risk factor for many diseases. After all, chronic stress is hypertensive, hyperglycemic, and induces weight gain--all three of which are nasty health-killing factors. According to the work of Cohen and others, that's only the tip of the iceberg.
Read the complete article.