Proefpersonen die foto's te zien kregen van zieken, hadden nadien méér Interleukine-6 (een stof, afgegeven door onze witte bloedcellen) in hun bloedstaal als daar een bacterie werd aan toegevoegd, dan proefpersonen die plaatjes hadden gezien van mensen die een geweer op hen richtten. Evolutionair bekeken, lijkt dit een interessante eigenschap. Want een actiever afweersysteem kan ons zo extra bescherming bieden tegen die ziekte van die ander.
uit: Merely seeing disease symptoms may promote aggressive immune response
Just seeing someone who looks sick is enough to make your immune system work harder, according to a new study in which volunteers looked at pictures of sick people. This may help fight off pathogens, says Mark Schaller from the University of British Columbia who conducted the research. "It seems like it's probably good for the immune system to be responding especially aggressively at times when it looks like you are likely to be coming into contact with something that might make you sick."
This kind of response to the sight of diseased people may have been evolutionarily adaptive, according to Schaller and his colleagues. Although an aggressive immune response has infection-fighting benefits, it's also costly - it consumes energy and can be temporarily debilitating. It may have been adaptive for the immune system to react especially aggressively when additional information indicates that the threat of infection appears high. According to Schaller, "The things we see around us, such as the sight of sick people, can provide that kind of information. And it makes sense for the immune system to respond to it."