A great lack of knowledge still prevents people from understanding how this phenomenon works.
By: Kimberly Rodrigues
A new study has found that humans begin to experience physiological changes before they get sick. According to an expert, when people are around other sick people, they may be better prepared for illness as their immune system begins to prepare for potential infection.
“In other words, our brain can get information from sick people and then cause changes in our physiology. For example, looking at images of sick people can already trigger an activation of the immune system,” says Patricia Lopes, assistant professor of biological sciences at Chapman University’s Schmid College of Science and Technology.
She reportedly said this means that parasites like viruses impact a person’s physiology more than she realizes, because every time another person is seen sick, the body expends energy. for preparing.
“Our physiology, particularly the immune system – the system that protects the body from invaders – is tightly regulated,” Patricia explains in a university statement.
“Once we get sick, our physiology can change dramatically to support recovery from the disease.”
She is of the opinion that there is evidence that the physiology of human beings changes when they see another sick person.
In her study published in Functional Ecology, Patricia writes that uninfected animals, including humans, have built-in mechanisms to avoid becoming infected with a parasite.
She adds: “Uninfected animals can attempt to prevent parasitism in several ways.”
A “less well-studied, and therefore less understood” method of avoidance is physiological avoidance, she says.
However, a key question is whether this type of “preparation” for disease is actually able to reduce infection in any way.
Patricia cites a large knowledge gap that still prevents people from understanding how this phenomenon works and how it can affect a person and spread the disease as a whole.
So, in the context of a large outbreak like COVID-19 or monkeypox, does individuals’ overall heightened awareness of the parasites around them somehow help them avoid the virus? ‘infection ?
According to previous studies, humans naturally view disease as something revolting and repulsive, says the Daily Mail.
Therefore, as a result, they tend to avoid people they perceive to be sick, as a form of self-preservation.
A 2010 study published by the University of British Columbia found that people who were shown pictures of sick people had elevated levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), which is secreted by white blood cells as a defense mechanism.
Commenting on this, Mark Schaller, co-author of the study, reportedly said in a statement at the time: “It makes evolutionary sense that the immune system only responds aggressively when really needed. “.
He adds: “If I see a bunch of sick people, maybe a big infection is there, and I better kick my immune system into high gear.”